Most of what we discuss in this blog has to do with leading in the workplace. But let’s leave work for one column and address how you’re leading in the rest of your life… at home, in your community, with friends, etc.
At work, it seems, we’re constantly striving to be at our best – we’re polite, consistent, mature, professional, tolerant, and flexible (at least I hope you’re exercising these skills at work!). We’re trying hard to listen, seeking first to understand and asking a lot of questions. We’re trying to be strategic, balanced and open-minded. As leaders, we’re trying to get everyone involved, be innovative and productive, and make others around us look good. There’s a lot to master, but we naturally assume the role of a leader at work and move pretty effortlessly through our day with that mindset.
So… are you bringing these leadership behaviors home with you? Are you remembering to use these skills when you get home? Kind of an interesting concept, yes? Do you even think of your home responsibilities as requiring leadership skills? There isn’t a whole lot of difference, when you get right down to it.
Just like at work, you have others who depend on your “leadership” at home. The people in your non- work life are looking for guidance, training, feedback and coaching, too. How’s team morale at home? What are your “friend engagement scores” like? Is the family strategic plan being well executed? How about your goals and objectives – are they getting set, measured, and met?
Like all of us, I know a few people who are incredibly “buttoned-up” at work but who aren’t getting the same great results at home. Why is that? What makes us less successful, disciplined, or productive at home? Wait, don’t answer that – I know the responses would fill a psychiatrist’s office!
OK, so this might be over-simplifying things a bit – but try this, the next time you hit a snag at home. Literally, think of how you would have handled it at work with your team, from your leadership position. Sometimes when I’m hitting a brick wall with my two teenage sons, I step back and ask myself if we’ve agreed to clear and measurable goals. If we have to have a tough conversation, I try to move into coaching mode, by asking non-threatening questions. If I have to prod them to do their homework, I move to painting a picture of the rewards and benefits, etc. Hmmm… it works with people in the workplace, why can’t some of this leadership stuff work at home?
It’s not the perfect approach, of course. But the next time you find yourself in a tough spot at home – ask yourself: “how would I handle this in my leadership role at work?” Then work backwards to a suitable set of options. You might just like the results!