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Leadership Lessons from Dad

Father's Day is when we honor our dads and father figures in our lives.

My dad is the kindest, most gentle person I know. He rides life’s ups and downs with grace and dignity. And he taught me the importance of family, hard work and enjoying life.

When I reflect on leadership lessons from my dad, I keep coming back to a story my brother, Nick, tells of fishing with our dad and uncle.

Nick was 4 or 5 years old and tossing stones into the lake. Uncle Tom says to my dad, “He’s scaring all the fish away.” To which dad replies, “Looks to me like he’s sending the fish your way.”

Good leaders—and dads—create a positive culture when they:
  • Keep things in perspective. It was more important to my dad to spend time with his son and brother than to catch fish. Sometimes at work, we’re so focused on results that we forget to take a broader perspective.

  • Model the behavior they seek. Through this single experience, Nick tributes his philosophy of compassionate parenting. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to model the behavior you want others to embrace.

  • Consider the other person’s point of view. My dad created a positive memory for Nick by letting him be a kid and break the cardinal rule of fishing (i.e., don’t scare the fish away). As a leader, do whatever you can to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

What leadership lessons have you learned from your dad?


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