Families of any size can use leadership skillsets and mindsets to improve their home life and grow wonderful humans capable of collaborating from an early age. Why wouldn’t we apply the lessons learned from developing leaders at work in other areas of our lives?
How we listen, collaborate, communicate, and self-regulate our behavior is the work of conscious leaders, whether on the job or around the dinner table.
Consciously navigating the sophisticated balance of challenge and support in healthy relationships provides a lifetime of development opportunities at home, in our community, and at work. Applying the capabilities we build from one area of our lives to the different spheres of our experience is a way to live congruently.
Coaching, project management, delegation, negotiation, and purchasing are skills that directly apply at work and home. The same can be said for teamwork, troubleshooting, and technology. Parenting as leaders who build capacity in others and who grow children to be effective, ethical leaders is a pipeline strategy I’ve not heard much about in business circles. But if you take the long view, it benefits families, kids, communities, and the planet. Here are just two examples of how to apply conscious leadership principles at home.
Reflection is a critical tool in self-directed development. In The Conscious Professional: Transform Your Life at Work, I challenge readers to develop a consistent reflection practice to leverage their experiences for growth. In our personal lives, reflection can be done individually and collectively. In our family, Friday night is a time to notice what we are grateful for about the week and share that with each other. It connects us with loved ones and reminds us that we have a choice about where we focus our time and attention. Increasing our awareness about our thoughts–noticing what we are thinking about and choosing where to focus–is a key factor in the conscious leadership movement and a way to be deliberate about partnering with our family members.
Teamwork is a skill highly valued at work. Yet, so many of us fail to leverage the opportunities to build it at home. When you have projects to complete with siblings, elders, children, or neighbors, can you take the time to assess the strengths, provide clarity, and establish effective teamwork? These skills can be constantly renewed and re-built in our personal lives even beyond our family life when we get involved in local or national communities. Political organizing, neighborhood associations, school boards, and meaningful community events are all great opportunities to exercise and strengthen our teamwork skills.
As an executive coach, I find many examples where a client’s family experiences demonstrated a heart-breaking lack of teamwork. People didn’t feel valued, didn’t have a voice, or found it overwhelming to trust and navigate collaborative relationships with others. Building new neural pathways to be a good team member and team leader is completely within our power, but it does take practice. Those who have experience with teaming at home–being open to diverse ideas, collaborating on strategy, and working with others to accomplish something greater than they could do alone–are a gift to a newly formed work team.
Ethical companies that live according to their stated values need leaders who live authentically and congruently between what they say and what they do.
The first professional development we get is at home. We learn how to think about work as we reflect on it from home. What is discussed about worklives in your home? When you were growing up, to what extent did the conversation about work in your household impact you? Character development is a long, slow arc, and is the result of many stacked experiences and our interpretation of them.
Professional purpose enriches worklives. Passion, drive, creativity, and engagement are intrinsic to individuals, yet also the lifeblood of innovation, growth, and advancement for organizations.
Authentic leaders are open with their values and act consistently with the principles they hold. Yet, we are all works in progress along a continuum of development. As we go, we can grow ever-greater abilities to understand what really matters, deal with the changing circumstances around us, and listen to the voice of wisdom deeper than biochemical reactions.
In what ways can you live your values more fully and make conscious choices at home or work?
Creating conscious leaders at work and being a conscious leader in our personal lives are inescapably integrated.
Jessica Hartung is a partner, coach, and guide for those leveling-up their personal professional leadership, their teams, and their communities to a better future.
Jessica has a passion for inspiring and preparing people to grow from their work to improve their lives. In 1998, she founded Integrated Work, a consulting firm that brings top-notch professional development to mission-driven leaders, while being a learning laboratory for innovative work practices.
Jessica provides self-directed professional development tools to leaders at all levels striving to create positive impact.