I have always joked that I have four kids – two Homo sapiens and two companies. While all of them have contributed to the rapid proliferation of my gray hair in recent years, I didn’t realize until recently how complementary these two roles have been. Parenting has influenced my leadership, and vice versa. I have learned a great deal from each role, which has made me both a better leader and a better father (or so I hope). Here are five parallels I have noticed:
1. Let ‘em fall (or fail).
As parents, my wife and I have always believed in not protecting our kids from getting hurt. In fact, we have always encouraged them to run, play, explore, and do new things. We knew they would fall, but we also knew they would come out stronger. In their studies, we have followed the non-conventional wisdom of incentivizing learning, not grades. We are trying, and still struggling, to let them explore and focus on their strengths, rather than linger on their weaknesses.