My dad is one of the most gentle people I know. This is no thanks to his upbringing, in which he had very limited places to go and not much gentleness shown to him – but he, as a parent has been quiet, patient and gentle.
I have watched him over the years, and now as a parent I look back and I am in awe of his patience, rarely raising his voice – but doing a lot of listening. He jokes that one of his best accomplishments in life is that he raised three, very independent, opinionated and smart women (He has two sons – my brothers as well… but he mentions his daughters first). My dad also leads quietly with his work. He allows people to make their own mistakes, and only corrects if he absolutely has to.
To the smart person, who will ask him what he thinks, he will share many interesting tactics and observations – but he never shares unless asked.
Several years ago there was something happening with his work environment that I was aware of – and I asked him about it. I knew he was upset because he raised his voice and said “Jenny!! Someday I’m not going to be around and you need to think for yourself, You can’t rely on what I think!! Don’t ask what I think about it!!”.
I had never been so insulted by my dad in my life. I, never having raised my voice to my dad like this ever, said “DAD, YOU RAISED ME!! YOU of all people know I can think for myself with how much I have disagreed with you!! But I am still interested in your opinion!!”.
THEN my dad laughed like I had never heard him laugh, and said “Well, yes… of course I knew that” and laughed and laughed.
I was scared that I had yelled back at him but surprised with his response. The thing is, my dad always says that he wants people to not rely on him, that he isn’t going to be around forever. Nothing makes him happier than when he sees someone become completely capable without his help.
I could never put my finger on what makes my dad so different when I have observed other people in leadership positions. I noticed that when people started telling me how smart they were or all of their qualifications they have gotten I tend to just smile and tune out. It just turns me off… and many times I think “don’t tell me, show me!”. Why did it bother me so much?
IT wasn’t until I heard a quote today that said this:
“True Leaders don’t spend time convincing you to believe in them, True leaders spend time convincing you to believe in yourself”.
I love my dad’s leadership style because he is constantly telling people what they are capable of, and their potential, and ways of tapping into that potential. Other leaders I have seen just talk about what to learn from them, and how amazing they are, and try to make people dependent on their leadership and knowledge. They want you to think like them.
Sometimes I get frustrated when I blog because I tell myself “What qualifications do I have, why would anyone want to read what I have to say?” I guess – if I share what I have been through it is only to encourage that if I can do it – you can too (and probably better). Also though, I realize that I have taken on board my outlook that my father has, and that is, I want people to realize they can overcome anything and accomplish their dreams. I cannot do that in a work environment (although I would do it if given the opportunity), so I do it through blogging. So I hope you are working at accomplishing your goals…
I hope you all have had a magnificent week so far…