Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Family, Leadership and the Hot-Button Self-Check Coaching Train

I wrote recently about how there should be parenting leadership 101 classes. Seriously. So many things we're taught in K-12, and then in college, but personal responsibility, leading oneself, leading others, community and parenting aren't specifically part of the required curriculum.

Maybe there are examples out there today; it's been many moons since I've been in school and many more until Bea starts.

I hope there are. But what about hot-button self-check coaching? With the exception of therapy (sigh), I've never seen these classes in school.

My sister and I got very good pushing each others hot buttons growing up. Chasing each other around the house until we frothed at the mouth with butter knives and glass ashtrays in hand - that's the way we began each other's flash-temper reckoning day after day. Mother always wanted us to work it out, but if it escalated to semi-violent behavior, interventions intervened. That's good mama leadership.

But as adults, unchecked verbal or physical hot-button tantrums should be a thing of childhood past. What's that psych 101 self-check mantra again?

Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to it?

Again, that doesn't matter much to raging siblings, but it should mean a lot to us as parents as leaders of our families, communities, companies and beyond.

I read a great blog post yesterday from the Leadership Now blog titled Taking Control of the Story: Four Helpful Questions to Ask.

When emotions run high we tend to throw everything we know out the window.

You don't have to tell me twice. Whether it be at home or at work, hot buttons abound. I was just meeting with my leadership development coach yesterday, talking about how we create virtual quicksand traps for ourselves, responding reactively instead of self-checking and responding thoughtfully and effectively. Hot buttons aren't usually based on fact and get us into some awfully painful pickles.

The above post (and book titled Crucial Conversations) suggests we ask ourselves four helpful questions to get ourselves into constructive dialogue and separate "stories" from "facts" when hot buttons are pushed:
  • Am I pretending not to notice my role in the problem?
  • Why would a reasonable, rational, and decent person do this?
  • What do I really want?
  • What would I do right now if I really wanted these results?
I read another great related post this morning titled Leadership Development is Essential in the Family Unit that really solidifies where I'm coming to stand on families as the building blocks of true life leadership. Cultural differences aside, families pass on the positive and negative traits that both build and destroy community.

Can you imagine if everyone increased personal responsibility and family leadership by even 10% the impact that would have on domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse and all kinds of violence in between?

Not everyone will be a leader of others beyond their families, but we're sure as hell responsible for leading ourselves first no matter what; get off the ground and tie your own shoes first.

Then get on the hot-button self-check coaching train and bring your kids along.

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