Jun 10, 2019 | Leadership

Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday. This is an excellent opportunity to show appreciation for the men in the world who take the role of dad to the next level. Here are five leadership lessons we can learn from the endearing dads of the world.

1. Be okay with not always being in charge. Having children teaches you to let go of thinking that you’re in control. According to Freud, infants are all id. The id is the impulsive part of our psyche which responds directly and immediately to the instincts. Babies demand to have their needs met, and now. They don’t care how much money you make or how many people report to you. Dads humble themselves before their newborn infants and marvel at how their new baby dominates the household. LaGuardia Cross documents this power struggle in an interview with his 3-month old daughter in New Father Chronicles.

2. Show your team what fun looks like. A 2019 study published by the University of California Riverside looked at the emotional health of 18,000 people and compared traits like well-being, happiness, episodes of depression, and stress. The conclusion? Dads, more often than moms, report playing with their children while providing care. When dads put down their work and engage with their children in play, their signaling that the world is full of adventure and work/life balance is important for mental and physical health. No one can introduce those adventures to a child better than dads like the ones in this video showing awesome dads raising awesome kids.

3. Trust your instincts. Of course, adventure comes with some inherent danger. Dads who play with their children also keep their radar open to save the day while their children explore the boundaries of their physical abilities. When kids start to take a tumble, dads are awesome at letting their amygdala take over to respond just in the nick of time. The amygdala is the part of our brains in charge of reacting to danger. Dads at play with their children instinctively save the day when there’s no time to debate.

4. Yank the tooth. Change can be scary. Whether you’re unsure that a product is ready to launch or fear the pain of losing a baby tooth, sometimes you need a push. Dads are geniuses at finding creative ways to distract kids from the fears that come with growing up. They show kids that fear and change are normal, and that you can control your fear to achieve results like this father/daughter duo who enlisted the help of a squirrel to deal with a dangling tooth.

5. Talk it out.  At the end of the day, children want to know that you are interested in their thoughts. No matter how stressful your day was, your children want you to know about their day too. According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, children make 700 new connections every second until they reach the age of 3. Those connections help children to acquire the social, physical, emotional and cognitive skills needed to navigate life’s experiences. When dads sit down at the end of the day to chat about the world with their children, they acknowledge the importance of their child’s opinions, and show respect for their ideas, like in this video of a dad having a conversation with his babbling toddler.

Happy early Father’s Day to all the dads who help to grow the future leaders of the world.

Question: What leadership lessons can you draw from dads?

Driven by the premise that excellence is the result of aligning people, purpose and performance, Center for Executive Excellence facilitates training in leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. To learn more, subscribe to receive CEE News

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