By Tom Ottaiano, CEO, Today’s Business
Working from home the past few months, I have begun to see how my home-life and work-life are connected. As both a father and a business owner, it has become clear to me that running a business and raising children isn’t all that different. Not only do they require some of the same skills, just as you want your children to grow up strong, healthy, and successful, you want your business to thrive and be prosperous as well. With another Father’s Day in the books, I have taken some time to reflect on some of the ways that becoming a father has made me a better leader.
Every parent knows that patience is key when it comes to raising kids. Keeping a level head and allowing your children to learn at their own pace not only allows them to feel comfortable with the process but teaches a valuable skill as well. The same goes for owning a business and building a team. Without patience, it is easy to make rash decisions that could be detrimental to your company. However, allowing time to develop your business thoughtfully creates an environment where your employees can do the same.
Empathy & Sense of Humor
Just as every father needs to find a balance between parent and friend, a leader of a company needs to find the right balance of boss and comrade. Let’s face it, no employee wants a dictator for a boss. Being a father has strengthened my ability to lead and guide, while also being fun and supportive. Spending time with my little girl has encouraged a sense of humor and positive temperament when things don’t go exactly as planned in my personal and work life.
With my daughter, it is important to me to foster a relationship built on honesty, trust, and communication. I want her to know that I am there for her and I hope that she can develop these qualities as well. The same thing goes for leading a company. If there is no honesty and transparency, a company is bound to fail. How can you expect to get honesty back if you aren’t able to demonstrate that yourself?
Discipline & Reacting to Mistakes
As a parent, a leader, and as a person, discipline is extremely important. Without discipline, children do not develop the direction and restraint they need to become productive members of society. Without discipline, a team and its leaders cannot be productive or accountable. Being a father has helped me understand productive forms of discipline, as well as the best ways to react to mistakes to build a company, rather than to hinder it.
Setting a Good Example
All of the traits listed above play an important role in setting a good example. With a little girl and another child on the way, I want to be a good role model for them. I strive to set a good example and this crosses over into my work life. The example I set in each environment may vary, but the core traits and values are there. I want my team to rely on me for support and as a person they can look up to, learn from, and trust.
Without a doubt, becoming a father has strengthened and developed many of my leadership skills. It has challenged me, surprised me, and has opened my mind up to many new experiences and possibilities. It has also helped me to create a family at Today’s Business. I am truly grateful for my amazing family both at home and at work.