Still learning from my greatest leadership challenge

My greatest leadership challenge has been ongoing for 25 years, and I am still learning from it every day.  If you have glanced at my bio you will have seen that I describe this greatest challenge as being a father in a large and active family.  Don’t get me wrong, this is an absolute pleasure, for which I am extremely thankful: but it is challenging at times.

This Easter weekend, our 4 boys came home from their various digs around the country to join my wife and me, along with our two Ukrainian guests: young adult sisters who have enriched our lives for the last 2 years.  We had a great time.  Fabulous meals, games, walks, trips out, and lively discussions being some of the highlights.  But as with any group of independent and free-thinking people, who don’t live with each other full time, there have been some tensions and a few choppy waters to navigate.

Here are a few of the matters that, on reflection, my wife and I (the family’s SLT) have dealt with, that wouldn’t be out of place in any conversation about leading a business:

➡️ Planning – the weekend is short and we have a lot we want to pack in.  What, when, where and how are we going to do things?

➡️   Prioritising – what do we really need to do, and in what order, to keep on course, and what can wait?

➡️   Delegating – the SLT can’t do everything.  What are we going to ask the children to do, making best use of their individual talents?  The dishwasher still doesn’t unload itself!

➡️   Allocating resources – there is only so much time, money, food, vehicles…….how do we make best use of what we have?

➡️    Negotiating – back to there being one family run-around car for general use (see also dealing with conflict below) 

➡️   Communication – (now my children are chuckling!)  This is not one of our strengths at home it seems.  How can we best clarify and get across the points above without creating confusion?

➡️   Dealing with conflict – I know!  But families can fall out, and there are sometimes a few niggles that need careful handling so that harmony, peace and enjoyment are maintained.

➡️   Personal Development – our young adult children are at important, and invariably confusing, stages of their lives and we are lucky that they still seek our advice.  We try not to remove the obstacles but help them to find ways to navigate these obstacles.  There have been a couple of mentoring conversations this weekend.These points occurred to me on my daily reflective dog walk this morning where, as usual, I was not accompanied by any of the children.  But then, it was 0800, so some 4 hours before any of them surfaced. Happy families. 

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