The Leadership of Fatherhood
Last week, I began the rollout of a parenthood system that uses the acronym TPR (Teach, Play, Rest). We started at the surface of each of these interactions of fatherhood. Over the next few months, we will do a deeper dive into each of them. However, this content is not limited to home life. This content applies to the business setting too. The simplest way to put it is that fathers are leaders. Fathers have direct reports (ex. a child or daycare), co-workers (ex. grandparent), and colleagues (ex. spouse or godparent). In the end, we can either manage these various people or lead them. I argue for the leadership of fatherhood.
Since leadership is essential in both home and business life, it makes sense that the two would cross-pollinate. As a stay-at-home dad, I have read numerous leadership books that help me in my parenthood. The TPR system brings it the other way. I asked the question, “what can businessmen learn from fathers if both are leaders?” The answer is a myriad of things, but I have narrowed it down to the simple TPR system. Many top companies, especially in the tech world, use some part of this system. I imagine they could maximize their returns even further should they adopt the whole thing.
So here is the link again to the fatherhood article I keep referencing. Now let’s use that to dive into business.
Teach with Trust
You might think that most leaders teach their employees all the time. But stop and think about it for a second. How and what are you teaching your employees? Are you teaching them integrity or dishonesty? Are you teaching them new skills or expecting them to learn them on their own? Are you growing them?
Now imagine you were teaching your child to write in the same way you train your employees. What is the difference in feeling?
More than a Feeling
Did you see what happened there? I took teaching from a pure analytical enterprise into the realm of feelings. Why did I do that? Because teaching, as a form of communication, is not just about the information. Education is about transformation. That means the method and manner of information transfer are as crucial as the data transfer. The feel of it matters. Of course, the information feels primary, but in today’s ultra-fast information age, what information you passed yesterday may not fit today.
Since education is a primary form of communication for business leaders, I am going to dive into teaching in the next article. Don’t forget that teaching is a primary form of contact for all leaders. Our employees always watch and learn from us as our children. We have all found ourselves quoting my father at some point. As my dad loves to say, “Do what I told you, not what I do.”
Play with Passion
Passionate play is something for children, right? Wrong. The basics of play include creative exploration, enjoyment, and growth in a safe environment. Play is where we work through all our junk. Why do you think we love football so much? We can play through all the pent up anger and aggression we cannot display throughout the week. There is no safe place for us to play, so we create them and then fill stadiums to join us in our passionate play.
While that may be an excellent pitch for the NFL, play is something top tech companies have embraced to challenge and grow their employees. Craiglist was built in the spare time of a tech employee to meet people. Play is where the knowledge economy is moving because it allows us to test work and refine our ideas into businesses. The best part, it’s fun. When we are having fun, that’s when we are activating the leadership of fatherhood.Play is where the knowledge economy is moving because it allows us to test work and refine our ideas into businesses. The best part, it's fun. Click To Tweet
Rest in Rhythm
Productivity, productivity, productivity. There are so many productivity books out there about how to hack your way to cramming more junk into your week than you could ever imagine. You know what one of the oldest books on productivity declares,
“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.” – God
I once heard that sleep would be the last thing to fall to capitalism. Indeed, without rest, there would be nothing left for capitalism to conquer. However, therein lies the paradox. As our productivity has ramped up higher and higher and higher, we have produced more books about the need for rest. These books even demonstrate how we receive increased productivity gains when we rest in rhythm.
Two weeks’ vacation gives us time to decompress from work and release all of the drama and intensity that occupies our mind. Then we play. After that, we are ready once more to work. Refreshed, happy, and able to attack challenges with a fresh perspective by choice resting in rhythm opens up the hard drive space to run our computers at peak efficiency.
To use the computer analogy. Rest allows us to clean our brains, delete unneeded files, and to archive others into the external hard drive known as long-term memory. Play is like disk defrag. We work through all these fragments of experiences, tie them together, or discarding them, which creates newer, faster pathways from older distinct ones. Teaching is what we input into the computer. We teach ourselves and others what we expect from the computer. What programs to run at start-up, and what files are most relevant and how to organize them. What the computer’s purpose is.
The Perfect Crucible
We can tap into a wealth of information and leadership skills by taking the leadership of fatherhood seriously. Let me put it to you this way, can you imagine leading your employees without a salary? Parents influence their children without pay for decades. Yet, your children are hardwired to love you. The situation gives us the perfect crucible for our leadership. We learn to communicate, work through conflicts, and prioritize human dignity by resting.
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