Lessons from our Fathers

17 06 2012

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! Today’s a good a day to talk about the lessons our fathers taught us and how that advice translates to the work we all do.

My dad was a product of a generation of men that valued consistency, loyalty and perseverance, probably in ways that are different than we do today. He wasn’t a complainer, even when he had a legitimate reason to complain. He valued people at their word and when he shook your hand, that was an iron-clad contract as far as he was concerned. And while he loved his children with all his heart, he wasn’t a very expressive man. Instead of hugs and kisses, he showed his affection by making sure we always had a roof over our heads and food on the table. He’d also show up with a toy or a game of some kind to brighten our moods when one of us was sick.

A lot of company leaders would answer to this description too. They value effort and results, they expect we’ll live up to our word when we say we’re going to accomplish something. And many of them aren’t the most approachable people you’ll ever  meet because the top job is a lonely one that requires difficult decisions that are in the best interests of the company..

My point isn’t to draw the role of leader as one deserving sympathy. Quite the opposite in fact; my dad never asked for a sympathetic ear and most leaders don’t either.  We all know what we’re getting into and wouldn’t trade it for anything. But maybe applying some of the lessons of our fathers, both in how we deal with our superiors as well as how we as leaders deal with those who put their trust in us, would be appropriate.

Give your best effort. Be nice to your siblings/coworkers. Don’t lie because it only makes things worse. If you get a pet/project, take care of it. And strive to be a person your father would be proud of in everything you do. 


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