Anyone who has children or has spent any time with children knows that there seems to always be a double standard between what we tell them and what we as adults really do. Even if you have no children around you now, you were a child yourself at some point.
How many times did you hear one of your parents tell you to “do as I say, not as I do”? Unfortunately, some of the inherent behaviors we had as children were lectured out of us. Between our upbringing and schooling, we lost or forgot many of the most precious principles that we were all born with.
If we can gain back the following five principles, our Leadership success as an adult will grow substantially.
1. Recess is Important
Do you remember the old proverb “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? This concept is just as true for adults as it is for children. If as an employer you work your subordinates to the bone with no time for relaxation or recreation, their overall work output will suffer. On the same note, if you do not take time for yourself, you will become too overworked and less of an effective leader. It is very important to allow time for recess. You may not want to go out on the playground as a business leader, but that does not mean that you cannot take the time to be a little childish now and again.
2. Never Stop Learning
Do you remember seeing something new and exciting when you were a child? Do you remember being filled with wonder about a new toy or lesson? As we get older, we tend to stop really learning about the world around us. As an effective leader, it is crucial that you never stop trying to broaden your own horizons. Whether you are trying to learn more about your respective industry or simply learning a new hobby, the benefits to your psyche will be massive.
3. Always Listen
As a leader, you spend much of your day hearing what the persons around you have to say. You hear your employees concerns or complaints. You hear their ideas and thoughts. Do you really listen to them? As children, we are taught the importance of listening. Only hearing what is said will not promote growth or understanding. As a leader, you must actively listen to those around you. Not to mention that listening to your subordinates will ingrain a level of trust that would not otherwise be possible.
4. Have Less Fear
Children are born fearless. They have no idea that they are not supposed to associate with strangers or jump off of the garage roof until an adult tells them so. The older a person gets, the more ingrained our fear becomes until most people stop really interacting with the world around them. We are not saying you should start skydiving or base jumping. As a leader, you should not become a thrill seeker. However, you should release some of those fears and try new business ideas. A fear of failure can be crippling for both a person and a business.
5. Honesty is Always Needed
When a child lies it is often because they do not want to get into trouble. When an adult lies, it can be for the same reason. Though as an adult we have developed a certain amount to empathy. Therefore, we tend to lie or “sugar coat” bad news as to not hurt someone’s feelings. In business, you must be truthful with your employees to be a successful leader. When you propagate lying and dishonesty, you disable the bond of trust within your hierarchy. You could be an incredibly successful leader on paper, but if your staff does not believe in your integrity, your entire business will suffer for it in the end.
Children see the world and people around them in a much different light than their adult counterparts. As we grow older and grow up, life tends to restrict our natural born philosophies. If you want to be a more productive, effective, and successful leader, reapplying these childhood ideas will go a long way.