True leaders wear comfortable clothes, often work late hours, and unfortunately lack a great deal of public recognition. These leaders are not celebrities, imposed role models, or societal fabrications put on a pedestal through hidden agendas. These leaders continually work in the dark, they are invisible, and far away from the spotlight. They are simply anonymous beings.
True leaders are human beings like you, me, and others
A 2014 Forbes article “Ranking The 9 Toughest Leadership Roles” lists stay-at-home parents as the toughest leadership role. Stay-at-home parents are placed among the ranks of corporate CEOs, religious leaders, mayors, or university presidents, and appear to have the most difficult leadership role to fulfill.
With an increasing population of stay-at-home mothers (currently over 5 million in the United States), and the number of stay-at-home fathers on the rise as well, it seems fundamental to reflect on these important changes and truly comprehend that leadership primarily begins at home.
Leadership is a behavior and an attitude, not a position. Leadership is learned by practice and should be collaborative and shared.
Indeed, the toughest leadership role in the world is to be a parent. Mothers and fathers are constantly leading their own children to the best of their abilities and helping them to become successful, independent human beings who will fully contribute to the world.
Understanding the complexity of leadership is exploring its various models, philosophies and styles
Parents continually reflect on their own leadership model without sometimes even being aware of their ultimate quest for perfection. In other words, parents constantly keep exploring new ideas, concepts, and theories that make them better parents and leaders. They research and compare various frameworks in the leadership models toolbox that enables them to powerfully perform as leaders, and more importantly to better themselves. The foundations of effective leadership also are influenced by various philosophies.
Indeed, all parents lead their children based on a certain philosophy that deeply defines who they are and how they should act as leaders. All parents have a unique leadership philosophy that includes a specific set of values and beliefs. Each leader has a proper way of thinking and acting that represents his/her moral and ethical principles in life. The essence of a leader’s strength is rooted in his/her philosophy, and the pursuit of bettering his/her leadership skills.
Everyday parents display different leadership styles based on their understanding of leadership models, their own philosophy, and personality. Leadership styles are a reflection of who leaders are and mostly what their behaviors look like. These behaviors are easily observable and descriptive.
A leadership style should not be confused with a leadership model which helps parents to be better leaders. In fact, leadership styles might be good or bad, they are just a reflection of real behaviors and not necessarily a model to follow.
Parents, including myself, might display many different leadership styles that we voluntarily choose, given specific situations. However, we need to keep in mind that these choices directly impact the results we achieve. To choose the best leadership styles, parents need to personally define what the best options for them are based on their unique viewpoints.
A great amount of literature on leadership models and styles is widely available. Research has shown that parenting and leadership overlap greatly. Indeed, effective leaders at home are effective leaders at work.
The most important aspect to keep in mind, as a leader and parent, is to have a unique vision to share based on positive attitudes and open communication. Being a leader is about commitment, passion, and flexibility. Parents are determined leaders who always have to be socially conscious, honest, and more importantly true to themselves.
Leadership is about this powerful opportunity to transform others and be transformed as well.