First, the street cred. I’m a husband of one, dad of 3 and the President of a software company in Atlanta, GA. If you’d like to know more about me, check out my LinkedIn profile. Now, onto the meat!
I have a theory. OK, maybe that’s not as cool as “I have a dream.” But here it is anyway: Can it be that the best training ground for how to lead effectively out “in the world” is in our homes? The more leaders I meet and the more situations I run across convince me the answer is yes.
So many of us want to conquer the world. We want to lead at work. Lead in our hobbies. Lead in the community. But I think that the best leaders are formed in the fires of home life. I have two foundations for this theory:
- Family is the truest test of self sacrifice and the best leaders are servant leaders. There are two things any parent knows – family life demands sacrifice and offers very little in the way of immediate gratification. There is unexplainable joy in family life, but in terms of getting praise and seeing lasting fruits of your efforts (especially in those early years), it’s just sparse. To lead well at home you have no choice but to put your desires aside and focus on what’s best for the people you lead. And not only that, but kids are funny in that they don’t really care how much of a big shot you are outside the house. To them, you’re the guy they see at home with coffee on your shirt, spit-up on your pants and bed head you haven’t yet noticed. In my experience, those who lead sacrificially at home are way more likely to do it at work, in the community and elsewhere. Our world longs for more servant leaders like this.
- Family is the cornerstone of our world. We pay a lot of lip service to “family first” priorities. But how many of us are actually putting our family first? Looking at society’s stat card I’m gonna have to go with…not enough. Society has always relied on the foundations of the family. How a culture has upheld the needs and structure of the family has been an indication of the strength of that culture. So, if the family is the foundation for society, then it makes sense that learning to lead at home can act like a boot camp for leadership in general. Leadership basic training.
Learning to lead at home can be hard. I think is in many ways counter-intuitive for our culture. We glorify the people on the covers of magazines or on TV, but who really makes the most impact on this world?
Is it the leaders of government, the business elite or the millions of “invisible” moms and dads leading their families? Those who wake up every day intent on building the next chapter of the human drama through the legacies they leave their children are the real impact players. You just won’t see them with a headline over their faces.
What would happen in our worlds if we really dug into the idea of leading well at home…first? That while we try to dominate our industry or take over the government or light the world on fire we applied all the people skills, vision casting, team building and other abilities we have to the most demanding of all teams? I’d bet what would happen would be beyond description.
I’m not far along in my parenting journey. I have 3 kids that are 5, 4 and 2 years old as of 2014. So this blog is less about me teaching anything and more about me thinking through lessons I learn along the way.
I hope whatever you choose to read here will help you in some way. I hope you’ll contribute your thoughts, ideas and contradictions to my thoughts so we can learn and grow together.
Most of all I hope that we’ll all take our responsibilities as dads to be what they are: the most powerful leadership platform most of us will ever have.
Thanks for being here. If you want to reach out to me you can reach me at noeltroy at gmail dot com or of course on this blog. Now let’s get down to learning how to be better dads and better leaders…