LEADERSHIP CANNOT BE TAUGHT.


Leadership cannot be taught, it has to be encouraged. That is my view of the world and nothing I have seen in my very short lifetime has shown me otherwise. The problem of leadership in American culture is a complex challenge. We have bought into the idea that leaders are created in business school with ever more specialized management degrees. This philosophy could not be further from the truth. Leadership is about getting those around you to perform above their own expectations and to feel included and empowered. Leaders are great managers, unfortunately great managers are not necessarily great leaders. Business school can turn poor managers into great managers, but cannot create leaders.

The education that creates leaders starts in early childhood. It starts in the home at play. Creating leaders is about allowing your toddler to make decisions. It is about allowing her to be her own change agent. It is about explaining why. It is about explaining your yes and no answers equally. It is about recognizing that our toddlers learn from us. They are sponges and their best and worst habits are learned long before they can explain their decisions. Early training prevents later correction.

As the father of the two smartest daughters in the world I can attest to the strength of character of toddlers. My girls are now 3 and 5 and it is clear that they have very different personalities. In spite of their differences they both are confident and insist on making their own choices. They don’t readily follow the crowd. They, like little girls everywhere have been infected with the princess bug, but I smile when they choose the “boy” toys or face paint patterns. I am happy that they have been allowed to make their own choices and will not follow the other girls to the dolls but more often than not want both the doll and the truck. Having a community that supports our  girls is vital for the development of future female leaders.

For me, growing up around equally strong men and women instilled a powerful sense of place and robust confidence. This is what I want for my daughters and all our daughters. However, there is a noticeable lack of strong female leadership in our country. I would consider myself a feminist and believe that my girls are capable of doing and achieving anything they desire. Because there are physical limitation does not mean that she is not capable. The question is, are we willing to design and improve so she can express her full potential? This is the key question that needs answering. I know what my answer to that is. My daughters will never be told by me that they cannot. No one in my presence will go unchallenged if they suggest that my daughters cannot. I will lovingly push and challenge them, because they are just as capable as their male peers. It is time for us to use technology to level the playing field and allow all who would to be challenged by all this worlds has to offer.

I HAVE A DREAM.


I have big dreams and I am sure you do too. Those dreams are what we all live for. We work hard and push to attain new heights. Those heights attained are the source of stories for our grandchildren. The joys of the effort and the intensity of our victories are what we will remember. I think I have lost that drive for big accomplishments.

Now all I think about is how am I going to make life better for my daughters. At Sarah is 4 years old and Samantha is 3 years old and they only ask for my time and attention. That is easy to give, but what happens once its time for more substantive investment. My love will not pay for college nor will it be enough for that first car. So, like all parents I have to save. Will it be enough? I am sure I am worrying for no reason, but without planning for those events I will not be ready. I promise them I will be ready.

When my oldest was born, I was reborn. They are my world and no one comes ahead of them. Making them strong, confident and productive is my goal. The question of how to accomplish my goal is both harder and easier than it seems. Easier because I have my parents play book to look at and harder because of the same. Picking from what I think worked and not repeating their mistakes is a tough challenge.

Sarah, my oldest taught me a lesson this weekend. She is already strong and confident. I watched her perform under the big lights with her cheer team and she was perfect. She performed with intelligence, poise and confidence. I am a proud dad. At 4 years old she is already setting a great example for her 3-year-old sister. I had to smile when my 3-year-old said to me, “Daddy, next year I am going to win like my sister”. I am going to keep loving them and allowing them to dream big, while I dream of their success.