As a parent and as a leader, both for over 20 years, I have found myself looking for teaching moments in the home and in the office. I believe that we can nurture our children not only to be "good" people but also to be strong, thoughtful leaders. If we slow down enough in our hectic lives, we will find these seeds being planted all around us.
This weekend was a flurry of birthday activities for my 10 year old daughter. She is the youngest of 3 girls, with her sisters already off to college. With that history, I feel like I have seen it all...wizards, princesses, magicians, pottery and picnics. The anxiety of planning the perfect birthday party far exceeds that of preparing for every day business meetings. After countless suggestions were turned down with the rolling of the eyes, my daughter finally settled on bowling. Phew! By the time the invitations were out, we had just over a week to spare before the party date.
Fast forward to the party where the girls gathered with electric energy on a blustery and rainy day. Even at the age of 10, these girls are already showing signs of leadership, collaboration, negotiation, and inspiration. To my surprise, tears were not shed following defeat rather the girls cheered each other on to personal victories. If you stop long enough to notice the behavior, you see that this is what we should be modeling at work. Rather than judging each other and encouraging corporate politics, we should be inspiring others to thrive.
Finally, when my daughter opened her gifts, I was stunned by the card that accompanied the first gift. "Thank you so much for inviting me to your b-day. You are a great friend and I want to encourage our friendship. You are always kind and inclusive. You share so much of your stuff with me and I'm very thankful for that!" 10 years old! Fast forward 20 years to the workplace and imagine how that might play out. The seeds of leadership are planted at an early age. Slow down a little bit each day, and you will see our future leaders at play.