Four Leadership Lessons from My Kids

Birds - Parenting

My oldest kid graduated from college.

My youngest kid just finished his second year at college.

My middle kid is a senior in college.


Each has achieved success in his or her own way. And each has overcome a variety of challenges through their younger years, from academic, to health to family issues.

As empty nesters, my wife and I are enjoying a new period in our lives, one that is a bit less structured. We’ve already started enjoying the time we now have to take a deep breath and reflect upon both our and our kids’ accomplishments. Here are a few things we’ve learned from the wisest of teachers … our children:

1) The concept of one-size-fits-all has never worked when leading teams, whether at home or the office. I’ve learned the most valuable lessons about leadership from my children. A parenting strategy that worked for my oldest was either ignored or laughed at by the other two. My wife and I have learned, often the hard way, that the best leaders MUST be flexible, adaptable and creative. This means we must …

2) Be willing to learn. This means coming to grips with the fact that we all get stuck in a rut, sooner or later. If we have an open mind, it’s amazing what can flow in. The wisest among us realize we must …

3) Be willing to make mistakes. Advanced age, ranks, and titles tend to create risk-averse behavior. Don’t allow this to happen. Our kids learn volumes by seeing us “fail successfully.” And, above all, remember …

4) Parenting isn’t a popularity contest. Despite our best of intentions, teenagers will slam doors in our faces. Don’t take rejection personally.

Parents and leaders would do well by following these words of wisdom:

“If I am through learning, I am through.” John Wooden