As Mother's Day approaches - it got me thinking about parenting and leadership. In Executive Coach Ginny O'Brien's article Leadership and Parenting - The Same Skill Set: she puts down a comparative analysis.
I was having brunch at Fox Studios with some colleagues discussing these parallels today, when the cafe owner, Juan, - who himself is a parent - came by. We provoked him with the question: "Do you parent your team?" Juan's immediate reaction was that he didn't. As we continued our discussion asking him how he parented, and how he led his team - it dawned upon him that although the contexts were different - he led both the home and work tribe in similar ways! It was a new but interesting insight to him.
My experience working with business leaders had not so different a response. At the recent Asia HRD Congress in Kuala Lumpur, I delivered a presentation discussing "Leadership Insights from the Tribe" - where I drew their attention to how leading the organisational work tribe can be likened to parenting the home tribe. This was also the subject of two interviews I had on business radio: Leadership Insights from the Home Tribe and Leadership and Tribes Pt II. Immediately after, I had several HR managers, facilitators and educators come up to me to relate to me that it was so obvious once the association was created - but up until then, leadership in the two contexts seemed far from integrated.
In another conversation with yet another manager, who was happy for me to share this here,
"I have recently made progress on the development of a Leadership Group at the University that will assist in promoting culture change.The leadership group will have great support from our current site management team. What I find really interesting is that I can somewhat relate management of my staff to the management of my 5 year old daughter.In other words, just like my 5 year old people look at what's in it for them or how will they gain from doing a certain task. The more difficult and time consuming the task the greater the reward must be. I have implemented an active parenting program that I devised to help deter negative trends and foster good behaviour for my daughter. From this I have learnt that it is not too different to managing adults and an active management program was also required. As the program is in it's infancy stages it is still very experimental for me, so there will be quite a bit of fine tuning along the way. I aim to track my daughters development over time and match that against staff development to see how the trends line up." Chris Evans, Head of Security, The University of Melbourne
Good on you, Chris!
So what leadership insights are YOU getting from leading the home tribe that can resonate with those at work, and vice-versa?