Leadership -VS- Management – At Home

I have been thinking a lot recently about the unspoken form of leadership. Leadership in the home (as a parent). I believe is seen by most as more of a managerial function other than that of true leadership. Are you a leader in your home or a manager of your home? What is the difference? Is there a difference?

Seth Godin, best selling author says in the video below “Management and Leadership are totally different things. You think you are being a leader, but you are probably being a manager.” Although Seth is talking about these functions in business, it’s my believe that they apply the same in the home.

“Leadership is about finding the right people, agreeing on where you want to you go… It means embracing the failure of your people if it leads to growth.” As a small business owner it’s so hard to find the right people, train them and then hold back while you let fail and struggle. But the results are amazing. They learn, then become stronger and more self confidant in their work, and themselves.

I have five kids ages 11 to 4 months. In the past I have found myself doing a lot of what they should be doing. I think to myself, “I can get this done quicker, and do a better job if I just do it myself.” By doing this I am not allowing them to fail, struggle and  improve the next time. It’s hard to hold back while they struggle and be there to only assist along the way. I remember the first PB & J sandwich my 4 year old (now 11)  made. It took her maybe 15 minutes, and she made a big mess. Their was jelly in her hair, on the counter and on the floor. Many times I wanted to help, not just because she, “couldn’t do it” but I knew it was going to take me longer to clean the mess up than to just make the sandwich myself. Afterwards the sense of self accomplishment  she felt was worth it. Allowing our children to struggle and fail, then improve is critical to their self esteem now and their future success later on in their life’s. And that is really the goal as a parent.

What are you thoughts? How can we apply this to business and at home? Let me know in the comments.

Expressing Appreciation

Express Appreciation


Your clients, employees, boss, children, spouse, parents….. (I can go on and on here) All have one thing in common – each is hungry for sincere appreciation. Most feel that others do not recognize or appreciate their true worth. Praise and appreciation can work wonders in building long lasting, viable relationships.


Here’s an interesting illustration: In the fall of 1860, the steamship “Lady Elgin” set out with a total of 393 passengers and crew members, to make the trip from Chicago to Milwaukee. Just off the shore of Evanston, she was rammed by a lumber schooner and sank. As a result, 279 of the passengers and crew members died. Of those who were saved, 17 of them were saved by a student at Northwestern University, Edward W. Spence. He made 16 trips in all from the shore to the sinking ship and back again, saving the 17 lives.


Because of physical exertion and the coldness of the water, Spence was in shock at the end of the 16th trip. It was reported that as they carried him to the hospital, he kept asking the question, “Did I do my best?” As a result of the incident, Edward Spence spent the remainder of his life as an invalid in a wheelchair.


Fifty years later, Northwestern granted him a Bachelor of Arts degree, not because he ever finished the class work – he didn’t. He was awarded the degree because they decided he deserved it. It was at that time the plaque commemorating his heroism was placed on the wall of the old Coast Guard Station at the southeast corner of the campus. It hangs there yet today.


When he was 80 years old, Edward Spence was interviewed by Chicago newspaper reporters. They asked him, “What is your most vivid memory of that tragic fall day when the “Lady Elgin” went down off the coast of Evanston?” Mr. Spence’s answer was, “The fact that not one of the 17 people whose lives I saved ever came back to say thank you — not one.”


Look for opportunities to express appreciation. People want recognition as individuals more than any other single thing — even those who never perform an act of heroism.

Servant Leadership

leadership Sign

To some people the very term “Servant Leadership” may seem like an oxymoron. However, it’s been making the rounds in many leadership training workshops in recent years.

Actually, the phrase “Servant Leadership” was coined over 40 years ago by Robert K. Greenleaf in an essay called The Servant as Leader. He wrote that such leaders make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. They see to it that those they serve grow as individuals; that they become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, and, as a result they are more likely themselves to become servants.

Rather than tyrannical, demanding bosses, they become mentors, guides and even cheerleaders of the accomplishments of those on their staff. This, in turn, creates a more harmonious workplace, happier employees and thus, more satisfied customers. It is what author Stephen Covey would call a “win-win” situation.

In fact, Covey is a proponent of “Servant Leadership.” He says it requires humility of character and core competency around a new skill set. To become servant leaders, Covey lists three steps that executives must take.

  1. Build relationships of trust.
  2. Set up win-win performance agreements.
  3. Be a source of help.

People want to hire people they trust to come into their homes for repair work and to support businesses that they believe will treat them fairly. Once these relationships have been established and nourished, people will come back again and again. They will tell others about you and your work.

Everyone wants to feel like their needs have been met. Win-win agreements represent an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship between two or more people or organizations who work together. There is always a way to achieve this through open, two-way interaction, with each party seeking to find the optimum, mutual benefit.

Servant leaders can be a source of help to their employees by assisting them in meeting their goals, which in turn, is a positive benefit for all involved. According to Covey, a concerned leader needs to ask four questions during mutual accountability sessions:

  1. How’s it going? Or, what’s happening?
  2. What are you learning from this situation?
  3. What are your goals now?
  4. How can I help you?

It takes guts to practice this type of leadership, says Covey. Knowing that the boss has everyone’s best interest at heart empowers people. They become more productive and innovative. This type of environment invites cooperation and team-building.

In his book The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck states,Servant Leadership is more than a concept. As far as I am concerned, it is a fact. I would simply define it by saying that any great leader, by which I also mean an ethical leader of any group, will see herself or himself primarily as a servant of that group and will act accordingly.

Because this leadership model is character based, those in positions of leadership will find they will achieve their best results if they strengthen their own character and lead by examples of humility, cooperation, encouragement and support. Being willing to put yourself in a position of servant leader will keep you more actively involved with your co-workers. As you strive to serve them and get to know them, your appreciation for them and their contributions will grow and together you and your company will accomplish great things.