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5 leadership tips from fatherhood

| by Andy Zawacki

Being the dad of 16-year-old triplets has been the adventure of a lifetime. It's also been a great teacher. Below are some of the lessons I've learned as the dad of triplets that apply to my role as a leader.

1. Leaders set the tone.

It's a good thing we had no idea what was to come the day we found out my wife was pregnant with triplets. The craziness that ensued in caring for three babies taught us to keep our cool in the midst of chaos. 

The same is true at work. When chaos hits, leaders keep their cool for their followers. Setting the tone of positivity and focus provides confidence for your team like nothing else. You may not realize it, but your team is looking to you to set the tone in overcoming circumstances at work just like my teenagers look to me for help in dealing with the dramas of everyday life.

2. Leaders act consistently.

Having one boy and identical girls the same age has often been a challenge. Teaching them the difference between consistency and fairness has proven difficult at times. Life isn't fair. 

Employees can’t expect the same distribution of promotions, job assignments, or leadership training. Learning how to act consistently provides a framework where everyone can succeed. 

Just as each of my children is different, employees need different things from their leader at work. But they also need a consistent figure who models values that are important to you and your organization.

3. Leaders encourage and inspire.

I have noticed the pressure that my children face each day. As teenagers, they are filled with self-doubt and insecurity. One of my main jobs as their dad is to encourage them to try new things, moving outside of their comfort zones to grow into the adults they will become. 

My role as a leader is very much the same. Many of the employees that fill our ranks are teenagers in adult bodies, filled with insecurities and lacking confidence. Speaking encouragement into these employees can make a huge difference in their success and yours.

4. Leaders challenge.

I recently overheard a conversation between my girls where one remarked how dad wouldn't be afraid in a rather intimidating circumstance. If only they knew! I laughed on the inside when I heard it, but realized that it was because I had expected them to pursue excellence that they thought I was unafraid of new challenges. 

It takes courage to be a leader. That courage puts forth an example that doesn't settle for anything less than excellence and continues to challenge the status quo. By modeling such behaviors, leaders can help employees overcome fear and succeed in ways they did not think possible.

5. Leaders don't give up.

By now the realization that I have three 16-year-olds living under my roof has probably hit you. Just imagine what it's like around my home for a minute. Three new drivers, three growing human beings transitioning from childhood to adulthood filled with emotion, livelihood, and all the drama that goes with it. It's a BLAST! 

Sometimes though, that drama is enough to make me want to escape. To just throw in the towel and say I've had enough, that there's nothing more I can do. But after the emotion passes, I realize that seasons change and in just a few short years, I won't have three lively human beings living under my roof, and I will miss it! 

In the same vein, leaders don't give up on those they are called to lead. Though situations may seem bleak and may appear to not have a beneficial resolution, leaders continue to work for the best until the very end. Being a dad has taught me to persevere keeping my perspective right while keeping my cool. Some days I'm better at that than others, but the process of perseverance has given me an outlook on leadership that I have not had before. Leaders don't give up!

So this Father's Day here's to all the dads who keep at it with their kids. Here's to you who will get up every day and continue being the leader that their followers need just like you will keep being the dad your kids need you to be.

Photo source: istock

Andy Zawacki

Andy Zawacki, a former pastor and teacher has a passion for developing leaders who will change the world. He serves as the Head of School at Arborbrook Christian Academy and is a doctoral student of strategic leadership at Regent University.

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