Fatherhood is both a gift and a curse. It grants you unbelievably elating emotions and a new-found destiny, which reassembles your life's priorities. At the same time, it curses you with love and responsibility—overruling logic and your past worldly aspirations.
Being a father goes beyond raising a kid into adulthood. Everything your child becomes—from his personality, morals, and habits to his own mindset—will be influenced by the values that you teach him. Looking at it from a wider lens, you are essentially responsible for empowering someone who will, later on, contribute his words, ideas, and actions to the world.
Thus, your success as a father is not based on how competently you can provide, but how well you are involved in your family’s life. American author Reed Markham puts it into perspective, “The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams, and aspirations he sets not only for himself but for his family.”
Come to think of it, being a dad is somehow similar to being a team leader. When you make decisions, it is no longer just about you. You will find that whatever action you take affects multiple lives. But how does fatherhood affect your life as an individual?
It awakens a force within you.
Having a family of your own adds to your sources of motivation and inspiration. When you have people who depend on you and support you, aiming higher kicks in naturally.
You understand that one crucial aspect of fatherhood is firmly setting your child's moral compass, ensuring that his education and survival are not only fulfilled through financial means. You take a moment to guide your kid and teach him how to make the right decisions—decisions that will impact him and those around him. In light of this, you apply the same thing to your team, setting them towards success as they work under your guidance and mentorship.
Leading through example both as a father and a boss instills within you a drive to be better, to dream bigger because your every move will be a benchmark for those under your wing. As you become more excited about your responsibilities, accomplish tasks efficiently, make reasonable and upright decisions, and treat others with equal respect regardless of their background, it becomes instinctive for you to be the kind of person people will want to follow.
It refines your leadership skills.
Have you ever heard of the saying, "Kids say the darndest things"? When you ask them about something, they come up with the oddest responses because that is how they are—curious, witty, and often cheeky.
Being a father encourages you to speak another person's language. As a “manager” of your child's life, you devise communication techniques that let him comprehend a situation, follow instructions, and recognize you as a person of authority. In return, it teaches you to adjust your leadership style, taking into consideration how your decisions and actions will make an impact on your kid.
Studies show that fathers who use authoritative parenting, which involves unconditional love accompanied by clear boundaries and expectations, positively affect the behavior of their children. Similar to being a boss, you have to listen, understand, negotiate, and reach a compromise. But unlike your employees, your child might not fully grasp the reason behind certain rules in your household, which is why you have to consider their perspective. This learning you get from home can also be translated into how you facilitate and empower the people you work with. It enhances your skill in detecting your team's needs and interacting with them to earn their respect and trust, teaching you one of the important qualities of being a leader—empathy.
It changes your perception of time.
It is natural to yearn to be a part of your child’s days as often and for as long as you can. As a working parent, you realize how valuable time is. It also allows you to develop respect and appreciation for colleagues who are juggling office work with parenting.
Being both a team leader and a father helps you understand why a family-oriented culture in the workplace matters. As someone who holds a position on the corporate ladder, your influence on implementing this culture makes a difference to fellow colleagues’ parental lives. It can be something as simple as allowing employees to attend to their familial duties. You may even lead initiatives that help build stronger parental bonds, such as Bring-Your-Child-to-Work days.
Adam Goldberg Founder and CEO of Torchlight, a digital platform that educates and empowers employees to resolve the challenges of caregiving in the United States, wrote an honest statement about a "family-first" culture: "The simple reality is that you do not just hire an employee, you hire their entire family...They are your employees’ first full-time job."
The modern age has changed the way employees look at work. It is no longer about gym perks and hefty bonuses. What your team values the most is how much time their jobs will allow them to spend with their kids. Likewise in your case, your kids will forget the toys and the school allowances. At the end of the day, what they will look back on is how much time you spent with them.
It gives you a stronger purpose.
Fatherhood may be overwhelming, but the purpose it gives you outweighs the stress. As with any phase in life, there will be highs and lows in being a parent. Nonetheless, there is magic in having a child.
Being a dad goes beyond providing financial support. Fatherhood goes as far as building the next generation of dreamers, believers, and doers who will set the standard for the world.
Having the opportunity to change a life and leave a legacy through your child is something not everyone has. When it is his turn to become a parent, he will pass on the key lessons you have taught him.
In the same way, the people you lead at work will eventually be promoted. At one point in their careers, they will be in charge of their own team as well and will look back at the guidance you provided.
You are raising leaders both at home and at work. It may be a big responsibility, but it also puts more meaning in what you do. The philosophies you practice, characteristics you advocate, and morals you build upon your successors will be emulated by their followers.
Fatherhood, as well as leadership, is not just what you give your child, but more significantly, what you caused so your child can give to the world.
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