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First Leadership Lesson For Your Kid – Compromise


15 Comments
What’s my role as a parent? Raise kids healthy and happy, right? That is physical and emotional side, the other side is spiritual – raising my kids with values in mind. How do I teach my kids values? How do I lead them?
by HdO ~ Helene

My take is this – you teach and lead your kids by example.

I was reading Compromise Can Be an Act of Leadership article by John Baldoni at HarvardBusiness.org. Baldoni is a leadership consultant and a coach. He offers simple recipe for Compromise as an act of leadership:

  • Think outcome.
  • Find common ground.
  • Celebrate the union.

I used it in practice with extreme success when I let my 9 years old daughter down.


Daddy Is Late

My kid was going to perform during her school’s annual festival. We set the time when I should arrive to witness her talent and success. I arrived exactly on time. But…when I came the show was over. She was standing on the stage together with her friends looking at me with eyes full of tears. She felt let down. I felt even worse. I let down my own kid. What a daddy…

Think Outcome

I could excuse myself that I came exactly at the time we set. Who cares? I was not there when she needed me, no matter who’s fault it is.

Then it struck me! Use situational leadership. Use the situation to teach her values. Teach her to think outcome. Teach here to think improvement.

Find Common Ground

She approached me and the avalanches of blame were thrown at me endlessly. I looked at her embarrassed showing I am wrong and she is right. When she choked with her own tears I had a chance to speak: “Darling, I made a mistake. I let you down, and I am deeply sorry for that.” She was disarmed.

First common ground was found – that was easy. We both knew I am wrong and she is right.

I gave her a hug and asked: “Darling, what should your daddy do to make sure it never happens again?”

Celebrate The Union

We spoke and agreed on set of techniques to help me so that I won’t let her down again. The conversation was developing and then we became friends again.

At that point I took step back. I felt it was good time to summarize the lesson we have just learned. I told her that it’s always better to focus on future improvements rather ruminate about the past. Mistakes are part of life, the question is what we spend our energy on – is it accusing each other or do we spend our energy on learning and improvement?

What do you think was her answer? ;)

That evening she had another fight with her 4 year old little sister over a broken toy. She started to loudly accuse her at first but then she stopped abruptly and started to explain how to treat her toys without breaking it.

The lesson was taught and applied in practice. She became a leader. I am curious what have the youngster learned from this?

There is luxury in self reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.” – Oscar Wilde

Practice This – Get Results

  • Think outcome, do not be right, be smart – growth is all about outcomes.
  • Practice Wooden’s 12 leadership lessons – they are universal. Sports, business, parenting – you name it. 
  • EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is your friend. Practice and master the “Park” technique – influence without authority starts here. 

My Related Posts

Editor in chief – Jimmy May

9 February 2009

15 Comments »

  • tom said:

    Excellent article, teach them from a young age.

    Unfortunately too many people act this way, it may be someone who is 5, 20, 40 or even 70.

    Accusing, complaining does not solve anything, and what an energy drain.

    Parents due this a lot, they make you feel bad about it to the point where you will literally never do it again, or on the reverse, you will keep doing it purposely.

  • Liara Covert said:

    Another way to view life is to evolve to believe;
    1) outcomes are illusions,
    2) common ground always exists (you need not find it, only remove blinds that persuade you it does not exist)
    3) mistakes do not exist, only lessons

  • J.D. Meier said:

    Good move on owning the mistake. It’s too easy to blame or defend, when owning moves the ball forward.

    Compromise is one way. A lot of times it’s really about finding the 3rd alternative.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    tom,
    I really far from making my own kid feel bad. So this is what happened. I decided to own the mistake and shift to future state and improvement, showing by example that it’s better to compromise in sake of improvement vs blame

    Liara,
    I liked “mistakes do not exist, only lessons”. Really good one.

    JD,
    Owning the mistake! like the wording. Adopted.

  • tom said:

    Alik,
    I know you are not like that, I was just making a general statement. And yes I am glad you walk the talk.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    :)

  • Melissa Donovan said:

    What a lovely story! Leading by example should be top of the list for anyone in a leadership position – whether in business, family, or any other group situation.

  • Audra Krell said:

    Wow, what a great, timely post. I love that you owned your mistake and asked her what you could do to do better next time. She sounds so very sweet. We need an entire generation raised up, some very early adopters that will teach the old!

  • Sheila Atwood said:

    Great story. I also believe that children learn by example.
    It is impossible to make somebody be good.

    “You teach what your are.” A Course In Miracles

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Melissa,
    Your are right. Walk you talk. As simple as that. Without it the trust is lost. Leader w/o the trust is no leader…..

    Audra,
    Thanks for good words!
    I am ready to lead the entire generation LOL! I am trying to do it w/my blog but i have bigger plans. I adopted someone’s “……, change the world or go home!” ;)

    Sheila,
    Happy you liked it!
    Teach by example is my favorite – at work with the customers and in live with family and friends. Works the best.

  • tom said:

    Let’s face it, if you turn the whole generation like this, well it will be one boring world and two, what is the likelihood of that happening?

    Worry about yourself first before you try to change the world.

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Ha! Good point! ;)
    Being good soul does not mean boring world – how about the diseases that hit even innocent? how boring is it? What about the education? How boring is it?
    Must see:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_unplugged.html

  • tom said:

    I seen this video a few days ago, thanks for the link again. He makes great points, ya gotta listen to it tomorrow.

    Well ya many people seem to find school because it is a one size fits all system. Same with jobs and the compensation part of it.

  • Giovanna Garcia said:

    I love how you explain parenting as leadership. It is a lot of like, just with much more love added :-) Our children do look up to us as leader. Great post.

    Thank you,
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

  • alik levin (author) said:

    Giovanna,
    Great to hear you liked it!
    I realized the connection between the two – parenting and leadership – after studying John Wooden work, take a look at this one:
    http://practicethis.com/2008/06/06/john-woodens-12-lessons-in-leadership-for-kids/
    you will be amazed howl Wooden’s leadership lessons are useful for parents

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