10 Men: “How Being A Dad Makes Me A Better Leader”
From gaining perspective to becoming better storytellers, men reveal how fatherhood helped them become better leaders.
Does being a father enhance your leadership skills? We asked nine men why being a dad makes them better leaders. Here’s what they said:
“Being a Father has made me a good storyteller. In order to persuade my kids to alter their behaviors and shift their actions, I have to be a compelling communicator. The more effective I can communicate, the more prominent my influence can be in all aspects of business. Additionally, my kids’ spirit to take on life with such vitality has influenced me to give all of myself to any-and-all new challenges.”
–Duarte Mendonca, Associate Director of Talent Acquisition, Midland Memorial Hospital
“Seeing my daughter interact with the world leads me to open my own mind.”
“The one thing fatherhood has done is put things in perspective. Suddenly the old stresses aren’t as stressful anymore. Especially when I come home to a smiling little guy like the attached photo.”
–Sam Macmillan, Manager, Marketing Development, BCLC
“It’s hard to articulate how fatherhood changes everything in your life. It brings clarity to what’s truly important, and provides real perspective around what matters. Seeing my daughter interact with the world leads me to open my own mind and inspires curiosity and creativity.”
–Lars Schmidt, Co-Founder, HR Open Source (HROS)
“From being a dad to a highly intelligent, strong-willed and independent daughter, I have learned that patience and persistence can overcome almost any problem. The other skill I developed being a father, which is extremely useful in dealing with all the people and situations my work life throws at me, is the ability to be very adaptable. Rapidly adjusting to suddenly changing circumstances is incredibly important both as a parent and as a business leader.”
–Robert Trubenbach, Director, Detec Systems
“Being a father has taught me patience, taught me perspective, taught me what to value. I have learned that sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. That nothing is a perfectly valid action in some circumstances. Wait, watch, reflect.
“I have learned that everything in life is finite – everything. As a father, there are only so many stories you will get a chance to read, ‘tubby times’ you will have. As a father you struggle to balance your responsibilities, you learn (abruptly sometimes) that one day you will never again do some of these things, and you miss them more than you can imagine. So you learn where the focus is, and you focus there.
“I have learned that while you have to value the moment and focus there, you have to be clear on the long game. As a father you don’t know for sure that what you are doing will result in success, but with some common-sense things – good food, physical activity, limited screen time, opportunities to listen to live music, movement, culture – you will likely end up with a healthy, well rounded member of society. Some of the things you will do may not be popular, but they will give you the best result. Do those things. All of these relate directly to business and leadership – the skills you develop as a father are infinitely valuable and directly transferable to the business world.”
–Kurt M. Webster, Director of HR, PPG Industries
“In order to persuade my kids to alter their behaviors and shift their actions, I have to be a compelling communicator.”
“Being a father is a humbling experience, there’s no one that can humble or provide you with humility as fast as your children can. This has helped me become more coachable myself, and admit when I’m wrong (tough to do with a boy and girl that are close in age, they will remind you often in the times you were wrong). I’m always open to learn from my employees and take coaching from them. Being a father has helped me to become more patient, flexible, and coachable. Just like being a father/leader, your children/team needs to be willing to follow you and learn from you. For this to happen you need to lead by example, and develop trust. Develop trust with your children/team and they’ll work for you relentlessly without fear of making a mistake. Another aspect I’ve learned from being a father that helps in leadership is the ability to adjust your leadership style. No two people are the same and to be effective you need to be able to adjust to them and communicate effectively.”
– Stan Weeks, Vice President of Human Resources & Operations, Pacific Cascade
“Being a father has driven new levels of focus and appreciation in my life. As time becomes more precious I continue to acknowledge this truly is our most valuable resource. I cherish the hours in each day that I get to lead teams and have an impact in the world, I am ultra-focused on what goes into these hours. This focus means when I walk through the door at night I am able to turn everything off and shift my energy to show up fully with my family. It is amazing how much joy comes through the simple act of snuggling with my daughter and wife on the patio after a long day. This deep appreciation fuels me to go out and push my outer limits day after day.”
–Tyrell Mara, Product Manager BuildDirect, & Discus Olympic hopeful
“Being a father has helped me to be a better business leader by reminding me to be more patient, resilient and to live in the moment. As my children became older they taught me to adopt my communications style based on the situation and audience (everyone is different) and to be open to new ideas from others; including those who are younger than me. Lastly, being a father has taught me to persevere at home and at work. It is not always going to be fun times and there will be challenges, so constantly treat people fairly and consistently.”
–Warren Wong, Vice President, Talent & Culture, Appnovation Technologies
“Being a father, for me, has been the most important leadership development tool in my career. Being a father has given me thousands of hours of on the job training requiring me to be selfless, patient, encouraging, understanding, loving, inspirational and overall living a life dedicated to helping my kids become better prepared for success in their own lives. Much like leaders prepare their teams to achieve greater professional success in their own individual careers. There are many similarities. Leadership qualities are but tools. They require daily use, refinement, resharpening and reapplication in order for improvement. Being a great leader, like being a great father, is not a one foot in the pool kind of commitment. You have to be all in. Emotionally connected. Your people look to you just as your kids look to you. They depend on you. I didn’t realize it in my earlier career, but I can say with certainty that in my pursuit to be the world’s best dad to my two little girls that I’ve become a much better leader in the process and for that I’m incredibly thankful.”
–Philip Newman, Sr. Manager, Talent Strategy, The Home Depot
“Being a father has helped me to become more patient, flexible, and coachable.”
“Becoming a father has deepened my curiosity. Watching my two year old son Felix experience things for the first time is inspiring me to re-experience them anew too. This is making me more creative and open to new ideas.
“Becoming a father has also put everything into much clearer perspective. Last week I had to take two days off to stay home with Felix because he had strep throat. After I had cancelled and re-arranged meetings, I reflected on the initial stress I felt in not being able to ‘plow through everything’ as I did in my pre-fatherhood days, but how this helped me to focus on what’s really important and to become much more effective.”
–Mark Abbott, Engineering Change Lab Animator, Engineers Without Borders Canada