Fathers Need To Be Leaders Too

I was raised by a single mother who worked as many jobs as she had to in order to put food on the table.  I met my father a few times when I was a child, but I certainly never knew him nor did he know a whole heck of lot about me.  At some point when I was in High School my mother carefully let me know that he had died of cancer.  I vividly remember thinking I should probably feel some emotion about that, but I did not.  Father’s Day was never a real big holiday in my house.

I can’t sit here and tell you that I swore I would be a better father than my father was.  I never gave it much thought.  Ever since my son was born in 2000, I have never had more of a desire to spend time with anyone than I do to spend time with him.  I don’t spend time with him out of a sense of obligation or commitment; I spend time with him because I genuinely enjoy his company.  I am pretty sure that is how it is supposed to work.

There are a great many similarities to how I lead my employees and how I raise my son.  Since this is Father’s Day, I decided to ponder a few of them:

  1. Lead by example:  I was certainly familiar with this concept before my son was born, but having kids will drive this concept home for you.  I can see every good and bad trait that I have in my son.  It has made me very aware of my actions and the impacts that they have on others.  He is a tangible reminder to me every day that other people watch my actions and take their cues from me.   It is the ultimate sign of respect and it should not be taken lightly.  Fathers need to set an example that they want their children to follow.
  2. Communication is everything:  When employees are frustrated and ultimately quit a job, I would say more times than not it comes down to communication.  Their boss did not communicate enough with them, or did not communicate the correct things.  Open communication is the key to leading people, marriage, and raising children.  I do not think there is a demographic that is harder to communicate with than teenage boys.  It just takes patience.  You have to keep providing them opportunities to talk.  Most weekends I will spend every waking moment with my son.  Some days we hardly talk and other days he just jabbers on about whatever is on his mind.  There is no rhyme or reason to it.  I just have to keep trying and providing him opportunities to talk and not take it personally if he does not feel like talking.
  3. Let them make mistakes:  I try not to make lot of decisions for my son at this point in his life.  I give him guidance and I help him use logic to weigh decisions, but wherever possible I let him make his own decisions.  Sometimes I know he is making the wrong decision, but if it is not going to cause great bodily harm to him or anyone else then I let him make the decision anyway.  I can honestly say that he is one of the most logical people I know and I would like to believe that I am at least partially responsible for that.  The most important decisions he makes in his life, he will likely do on his own.  It is extremely important that we give our kids the tools to make decisions, but then let them make their own mistakes.  This technique works pretty well with employees too.

I don’t claim to be the world’s greatest manager or father for that matter.  I have certainly made a few mistakes own along the way, but when I look back over my career I can take a lot of pride in all of the managers I have helped to develop along the way.  Nothing I have accomplished professionally will ever compare to the pride I feel as a parent.  There is no question in my mind that being a dad is the greatest job I will ever have.

To all of the other Fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day!

What a great graphic. Thanks to the good folks at McNeill Nakamoto for finding and posting it.


Companies are well aware of the cost of replacing an employee. Developing a strong, clear and engaging employer brand and corporate culture will attract the best talent and can make all the difference in an organization’s long term goals and growth.

A company that takes a strategic approach to talent management will see higher results in employee retention and overall superior team performance. This infographic from SAGE shows some interesting statistics about the ROI and cost of employee replacement.

click on the image for a larger view
source: SAGE

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Thank You Ken And All The Great Managers

Today, I am honored to bring you another guest post from Greg Blencoe:

Society is powered by an economic engine that produces products and services that enhance the human experience.  The mind, labor, and components of the Earth comprise the intellectual, physical, and natural resources that serve as the ingredients for these creations.


A great paradox of business is that one person can do very little and one person can do so much.


One finger on one hand can only lift so much weight and can do very little.  But the ten fingers on two hands working together can lift vastly more weight and have far greater usefulness.


In a business context, one person can’t build and sell lots of cars.  One person can’t operate an airline.  And one person can’t run a typical fast-food restaurant.


Business is about teamwork.  Business is about teams.  And those teams are led by managers.


In most circumstances, one person working alone can only do very little.  But one person who is a manager can do so much.  The power of the team is unleashed by the power of the manager.


Great products and services come from great teams which come from great managers.


In early 1990 just a few weeks after my 16th birthday, I started working at the Little Caesars Pizza fast-food restaurant located at the intersection of Main Street and the Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  One of the employees that I got to work with a lot was an assistant manager named Ken.  Within a few weeks, I started to develop a strong bond with Ken.  I loved working for him.


In life, major differences in outcomes are often the result of a consistent implementation of simple actions over a long period of time.  Momentum in the direction of a specific outcome builds very slowly but very surely with each simple action that is taken.  The little things are the big things.


I could spend a very long time explaining why Ken was such a great manager.  But instead I will just focus on six words.


A simple and common task that Ken would often ask me to complete was to get him a container of sauce when he was making pizzas.  The conversation would usually go something like this:


“Hey Greg, could you get me a container of pizza sauce?”


And then after I would get the container of pizza sauce for him, he would say:


“Thanks, I appreciate it.”


This brief interaction would have had a much different meaning if the words could, you, thanks, I, appreciate, and it were omitted.  These six words were the difference between respect and disrespect, high and low morale, and pride and resentment.


Those six words that Ken said were the little things that were the big things.


The financial and human resources under the guidance of great managers appreciate in value.  This can lead to the creation of more wealth, more jobs, and more happiness and fulfillment.


On the other hand, unpleasant situations at work can infect the sanctity of our homes with negative energy.  A virus that starts at work can spread to our families and beyond.  Most of us know what this feels like.


Managers influence our lives tremendously in a variety of ways.  I’m so deeply grateful that Ken has had such a positive influence on mine.  And like all of the other great managers out there, his presence uplifts the world.


Thank you, Ken.


Thanks for those six words.  Thanks for uncovering and igniting my passion for management techniques that maximize employee morale, motivation, and productivity.  Thanks for continuing to uplift the world today as an electrical engineer who is the head of your department.


Thank you, Ken.  And thanks to all of the other great managers out there.


Do you have a story about a great manager in your life?


Greg Blencoe is the author of “The Supermanager: A Short Story About the Secrets of an Extremely Successful Manager” which is available on Amazon.com.