Leadership nuggets from Dad

Personally or professionally, dad wasn’t the most charismatic person I knew. But he seamlessly performed in the leadership roles he was chosen for, both by selection and election. At home and at work. No lecturing. No lobbying. His actions compensated for the lack of rooftop sermons.

The youngest of 6 kids, he’d ditch the limelight opportunity, any given day. He never took delight on being center stage and never pushed his kids either. Its amazing how he tolerated my sense of sociability. Blood is thick, I guess. We were polar opposites in personality. Infact, all his 3 kids were tangential. But as leader of the pack, he helped us discover our unique superpowers. Empowered us to bring them to the table. Ensured Inclusion. He treated us the same by treating us differently.

In a noisy world abuzz with the constant chirping of opinion givers and takers, dad used to spend an insane amount of time in silence. Though Id initially mistaken it as a characteristic of an introvert, over the years I realized how he planned this time out to exercise the mind’s muscles. The inner peace that he tapped into helped him listen, to others but more so to himself. Silence was his secret sauce to rational decision making.

My mother always says “Your dad has a mind of his own”. He takes perspectives, respects views but bakes his own thoughts. No blindly echoing the 7pm news or the popular uncle’s stance from our social circles. He emphasized the value of education but never over credited it. Whenever I’ve weighed the value of an idea based on the author’s credentials, he’s looked beyond and reached for the “human” behind it.

A dire optimist who lived the line “This too shall pass” – his positivity was outrageous. Life’s thrown big and small lemons. He taught us to catch them and make the best lemonade. He taught us that the glass is half full. That Punctuality will always be in fashion. So will Hardwork. And that sometimes, all you need is someone who believes in you. Someone you know has your back, even if you fail. In a system that only coaches you to succeed and trains you on award acceptance speeches, dad gave us a home where Failure was acceptable. Quitting was not.

Most of this seems common sensical now but in our growing years, its invaluable to have such strong foundations. In retrospect, the impressions stamped on our growing years influence and groom our becoming of the individual and the leader we are today. For all the lessons I didn’t realize at the time that I was learning and hence couldn’t thank you enough, here’s to my first leadership coach and to his first lesson- A leader is not just about who you are but who others are because of you.

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