On February 29th 2000 I took on the biggest and most important job of my life. It was high stress, rendered me with little sleep, and made me worry lots. The pay was minimal, in fact this job had the possibility of sinking Kara and I emotionally, physically and financially. I began this new position thinking that I could do it without a problem. I was cocky and confident as usual, until I realized within a day, I was in over my head. To quote Jim Gaffigan, “I felt like I was drowning and then someone handed me a baby”. My new responsibilities always followed me home which made me feel like I always had to be “on”, and I did. All of the responsibility for success had landed on my shoulders, or so I felt.
The job I had been promoted to was not that of CEO, Vice President, or Director. I was promoted to biggest position of my life….DAD.
In your work life often when you transition from one job to another you shed your old responsibilities and take on new ones. In life it does not seem to always be the same. Your transitions equal additions to your responsibilities.
I had been through various transitions before, little brother to big brother, non-Christian to Christian, dating Kara to falling in love with her, being a child at home to becoming a husband, but nothing had prepared me for the transition from all of that to being a Dad.
I am so thankful to be the Dad of Claire, Katie, Kyle and Little B. My life is so full and rich because of them. As they grow I realize more and more how important my job as Dad is.
- I am the protector of them always watching out for what may come.
- I am a teacher, always trying to help them learn about faith the world and themselves.
- I am a provider for them, providing for their needs and sometimes their wants.
- I am their disciplinarian, making sure they learn right from wrong.
- I am their friend, listening to them when they need something or just want to tell me something.
- I am their mentor, hoping that they will come to me for advice when times are tough, and life deals them a “tough one”.
- I am a role model, showing them how to respect, and love others.
- But most of all I am their Dad, always on their side and always there for them no matter what.
The most important job I have ever had is that of being a Dad. Happy fathers day to all of the others dads out there, and to my Dad Terry!!
Recently I watched a documentary called “Buck”. This documentary was about Buck Brannaman the inspiration and technical advisor for the Robert Redford movie The Horse Whisperer. This documentary illustrates the way Buck “breaks” or befriends a horse. For many years humans would “break” a horse by literally beating the horse. The cowboy would use various physical devices and fear tactics to train the horse. Devices like “hock cobbles” to hold the head down when the rear feet would move. They would use whips, and other beating tactics to bring the horse into submission. This submissive pattern of training would allow the cowboy to show the horse that he was the boss. Buck uses a different approach. It is an approach of care and understanding toward the horse. In order to “break” the horse he “befriends” the horse. He shows the horse respect and the horse in return respects him. I believe that Buck’s approach to know the horse and learn why he does what he does is something that can translate to people as well. Think of some of these approaches as a manager or leader of people. For so long the standard approach for managers was information is power and fear. “Do what I say, no explanations, just because I said.” Approaches of influence take on manifestations in the workplace like, political games, mind games, and lack of communication.
“Leadership is influence”, according to John Maxwell, and influence is a tool that can be used in many ways. You can influence with fear and power tactics, things like implying that do this or lose your job or using the “you’re on a need to know basis and you do not need to know”. These types of tactics can work to have standard outcomes, but I would suggest that another route would be even better. As a leader, communication is key. By offering more in communication to your subordinates and colleagues, I believe you inspire more creativity and better outcomes. In today’s world, it seems as though there is a need for more creativity. With financial markets in flux, and ongoing challenges with leadership in companies and countries, it seems as though in order to survive more and more companies and leaders need to be as creative as possible to stay ahead of the game. As we have a world that is unsettled, I think a different approach might be worth a try. Try Buck’s approach and let me know if it works. Try befriending you colleagues and subordinates, see if you get more done, and are able to leverage more creativity? See if this approach also makes you happier as a boss. Good luck and share your findings either on this blog or via twitter @joeayer.
As I complete my schooling, I am doing a research project. Would you please consider taking this survey for me. In return I have a link at the end to a free audio book on leadership. Thank you in advance.
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It seems like so many times we take leadership for granted. As I have been a practitioner and student of leadership for the last 15 years I have learned many things. In a training that I took in 2005 I met two great guys Dave Logan and John King, who co-authored a book called “Tribal Leadership”. This book is an excellent addition to anyone’s leadership collection. Right now you can even get the audio book for free at the lin below. Check out their website, I hope you get as much out of it as I have. Post your comments!!!!