leadership, holidays

A text from the executive said a lot: “Was going to write emails on plane. Now flight cancelled. Driving family to Colorado. Wish me luck.”

The “luck” of which the leader was referring, of course, was the realization that he would be confined to a car . . . with his family . . . for an extended-period-of-time.

For anyone who walks into their home well after the dishes have been cleared from dinner, says hello to kids on his or her way to check evening emails, then leaves in the morning for the office before anyone awakes; such a family trip could seem daunting.

It’s a well-known fact: We’re wired to focus, focus, focus on the business. We didn’t succeed, after all, by slacking. So, what did I share with the senior leader in my response? These three challenges:

  1. Give your family the gift of being non-judgmental. We’re used to operating in a world where we must assess the value of the contributions others are making. Nothing hurts the relationships with those we love more than dismissing or devaluing who they are.
  2. Give your family the gift of being inspired. Innovating, delivering under budget, pleasing a customer . . . these drive our enthusiasm each work day. However, when our time on earth is gone, what do we want our children to say about us? I want mine to say, “Dad was excited about life,” not just work.
  3. Give your family the gift of confidence. When the team knows that the plan they’re executing will result in success, they worry less and go “all in.” It’s the same for family: Those for whom we care want to know that nothing will tear the family apart. And in a world of craziness, those looking at us past the evening news want to be reassured that everything in the end will be okay.

Not all of us get to spend long hours in a car with our family. Nevertheless, all of us can give our family gifts of a lifetime.

Image courtesy of ammer at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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