During a recent work trip, I had a bit of a parenting fail. But, if I’m honest, it turned out to be a great lesson for leaders about how to adapt when things don’t go as planned.
As you know if you’ve been following me for a while, I travel a lot for work. And it’s hard on my kiddos. So every time I have to leave for a trip, I try to find creative ways to keep the kids engaged and make them feel like mommy isn’t so far away.
(You can find some of my top tips that have worked well in this blog post.)
Last month, I was about to leave for a two-week work trip. It was the longest I’ve ever been away from my family, so I wanted to try something new to stay connected to my kids. I had the idea of writing letters for them to open and read while I was away (one for every other day).
And it backfired. Horribly.
Reading the letters ended up creating even more of an emotional connection, which only made them miss me more. My son started crying, and my daughter began acting out. In essence, it did the opposite of what I had intended.
As leaders, we often let our ego get in the way. When we have an idea or make a decision, we want to follow through, despite how others feel. Especially if it’s something that we’ve already put a lot of time and effort into.
But true leadership is about taking a step back, looking at the big picture, and making adjustments based on what our team needs.
The bigger picture was that my “team” needed to feel safe, loved, and cared for. I thought the letters would make them feel that way. But once it became clear that this was not the case, I knew I needed to pivot (and pivot quickly).
So next time things don’t go as planned, know that it doesn’t make you a bad leader. What truly defines a leader is how you react and adjust as circumstances require. And this applies whether you’re an executive at a Fortune 500 company or a mom of two.
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