Good leaders

Buenos líderes (Follow this link for a rough translation in Spanish. Thanks!)

Last night I watched a couple of TED Talks by Simon Sinek. One of them is entitled “Why good leaders make you feel safe” and I cannot recommend it more.( Check it here: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_why_good_leaders_make_you_feel_safe).

He talks about the circle of safety and trust, how trust makes us feel safe, on his own words, “you can sleep at night because you trust that someone in this circle of safety will be looking out for danger”.

He then goes on talking about leadership and how the leader sets the tone. And how the leader makes the people in the organisation feel safe, the leader generates this circle of safety. He spoke about how fear can destroy an organisation form the inside, fear based on the lack of trust; and how when there is trust, all forces and resources are bundled together to generate and achieve.

The part that interested me the most is when he talks about parenting, and how as parents we become the “leader: a person who holds a position of power and how those who lead inspire us; how do we follow them, not because we have to but because we want to – because they inspire us, because they give us a sense of safety, because they trust us and in return we trust them”.

Simon Sinek is a motivational speaker and a business consultant (check him out here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Sinek) and you may wonder how on earth I am talking about him and relating his concepts and ideas to parenthood and childhood.

Simple: because if I strip down parenthood of all the subjectivity, it all comes down to be a good leader. Yes, a good parent is a good leader! A child does entrust implicitly and without questioning a parent with his life for several years of his life; a child believes with blind faith in his leader. A parent is the one who makes the child feel safe, who inspires, who educates, who trust on this child, who gives the child opportunities to grow, to make mistakes. A parent is the one who goes around with an iron fist in a silk glove.

The parent is the one who will build this circle of safety and who will watch out for any dangers so the child can sleep well at night (paraphrasing Simon Sinek) and it will be the parent’s job to generate it. And as a giant plus, when there is trust there is abundance of will power to achieve, to grow, to generate and to contribute.

To great parenting, to great leadership; to epic fails and astounding recoveries.

Thank you Simon.

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The way parents interact…

I stumbled across this paragraph and I think it is the most beautiful example on how powerful the example of the adults around a child are.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The ways parents interact with their children
contribute to shaping children’s understanding of
themselves, their parents, human nature, and the world
around them.

A parent who takes a toy away from a
toddler who had just taken it from another child, while
saying, “No grabbing,” teaches both children that
grabbing is okay—for those with more power.

A parent who unilaterally imposes a curfew implies that a
teenager can’t be trusted to make thoughtful decisions
about his life.

Instead, in both words and actions, parents can convey two key ideas:

1. Everyone’s needs matter, and

2. If we connect sufficiently, we can find strategies that will work for everyone.

Inbal Kashtan

This paragraph from Inbal Kashtan calls for reflection from the parents and carers of children alike; it calls for reflection on the adult´s empathy and the capability to be empathetic.

One day – and I do hope it is soon – adults and carers can realise that empathy and the empathetic process is the best gift an adult can give to a child (and another adult); the act of listening and act upon our words and actions sends a clear message of our ability and intention of communicating, connecting and understanding the needs of the other person. It may as well open doors and pathways for both parts to reach agreements and understandings which will benefit both sides, as a result of listening and communicating.

The immediate benefit is that both sides can feel understood, loved and cared for. On the long run, this kind of conversation feeds and enriches a relationship based in understanding, trust and respect.

La manera en la que los padres interactúan con sus hijos contribuye a formar la visión que el niño tiene de si mismo, de sus padres, de la naturaleza humana y del mundo que los rodea.
Un padre que le quita un juguete a su hijo que a su vez el niño le quitó a otro niño mientras le dice “no le saques el juguete al nene” está enseñando a ambos niños que sacarle juguetes a otro está bien – para aquellos que tienen poder.
Un padre que impone horarios a un hijo mayor está implicando que no se puede confiar en él para que tome decisiones acertadas.
En cambio, en palabras y acciones los padres pueden dar dos mensajes claros:
1 – Las necesidades de todos son importantes;
2 – Si nos conectamos lo suficiente desde el diálogo, podremos encontrar estrategias que serán útiles para ambas partes.

Inbal Kashtan

Este parágrafo de Inbal Kashtan llama a la reflexión de padres y todos aquellos que están con niños; llama al adulto para que reflexione sobre su propia capacidad de empatía.

Espero que un día – no muy lejano – padres y aquellos que cuidan de niños se den cuenta que empatía y el proceso empático es el mejor regalo que un adulto le puede dar a un niño (y a otro adulto); que el acto, el ejemplo de escuchar al otro y obrar con hechos y con palabras nos ayuda a conectarnos y a comprender las necesidades del otro; tal vez abre puertas para que entre las dos partes se lleguen a acuerdos beneficiosos donde se refleja el resultado de escuchar y comunicarse.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

El beneficio inmediato es que ambas partes se sienten comprendidas, escuchadas, queridas. A largo plazo, se fomenta y enriquece una relación basada en la comprensión, la confianza y el respeto.

Trust me, I am a baby

Imagine if your baby say that to you:

“Trust me, mum (dad/nan/responsible adult in charge of me) I know exactly what I am doing”

What would you do – apart from double checking that the drink was not spiked – would you relax and stand in awe or would you just turn and say “oh, please! You are a baby!”

I would incite you to think again on what your answer would be under this hypothetical situation. It is difficult, it is not? This beautiful human being, just arrived in your life, needs your whole attention from feeding to dressing almost 24/7 – yes, discount a few hours of sleep here and there – so how can she/he be able to  “ know exactly what he/she is doing”? How could somebody who depends her/his entire life somehow can know exactly what are they doing?

The answer is simple really. They know what they are doing: they are learning. They are learning about what surrounds them, who surrounds them. When they cry, they are learning to “ask” in the only possible way known to them at that time for food, for warmth, for comforting. And they are learning as well who are those “giants” (a.k.a. parents/carers) who respond to that cry.

The baby will “take mental notes” of the voices, smells, main features of the face of the carer, and the way the carer handles he/she. The baby will feel the “mood” of the carer too.

When you see a baby gazing around and you are wondering what they may be thinking, the baby is learning about the space and is starting to see what is near, what is far and as soon as she/he is strong enough to move – they will know when, and you will know as well, because you will see it – they will try to grab what they see, reach to it. And then is when they discover the beginning and end of their bodies.

When they start to gaze at those two marvellous things on their sides, later to be known as hands, they can spend hours looking at them. Have you ever stop to gaze at your hands and truly observe them, noticing every wrinkle, every knuckle, the tips of your finger?

And for a baby it gets even better when they discover those things at the far end, called feet. And, as the hands, they will end up in their mouths.

All these processes are not to be belittled; they take a “huge” effort from the baby and is one of the fundamental cornerstones for development in every possible sense: physical, emotional, and cognitive.

Physical because they start to learn about their bodies and the boundaries and how to go beyond those; emotional because they start to recognise emotions such as joy when they can touch what they see, they can reach what is near or perhaps frustration because they cannot do so; and cognitive because they start to recognise distances – near or far, for example – and is setting the baseline for what later in life will be other cognitive capabilities such as speech and concentration.

Because they require a fantastic effort from the baby, only him/her will do all this on their own good time; a baby *knows* when is ready to learn all this, when is ready to do this effort.

Trust the baby. He/she knows what is doing.