I don’t know if you have ever heard this but raising a teenager is a monumental leadership challenge.
My precious baby girl, Ashley, is now a teenager. She’s incredibly bright, athletic, and an all-around phenomenal person. I couldn’t be more proud of her. However, she has reached those middle years where emotions, hormones and friends become more important than parental advice and my rational thoughts. Sometimes, I feel like I am just talking to hear myself talk because I know she hears me, but I’m not sure she is listening
This is particularly the case when I am talking to her about leadership. She doesn’t yet understand (nor is she interested in) the method to my madness when I try to teach her about the values of service, empowerment, and legacy. Most of the time, I’m just Dad. I am not cool and I talk too much.
I get it. I have been thirteen before. My parents used to talk me to death and they weren’t cool either. But it’s a tough adjustment to see your child go from your “baby girl” to this independent teenager seemingly overnight.
We sometimes have this same challenge in our professional lives. Maybe we have a person on our team that we hired, even a person we sponsored or mentored who used to hang onto our every word to start their career. Now they have stopped listening. They want to go their own way regardless of our advice and counsel. Frustrating, isn’t it? It’s easy to feel rejected by their behavior.
However, you shouldn’t feel rejected. You should feel proud. The guidance and leadership you have provided have given them the tools, information, and resources to determine their own destiny. You should feel thankful that you have played a role in their lives and that they feel empowered to assert their independence.
When we meet our greatest challenge of leadership, it should be about playing the role we are supposed to play for those we lead. We are the teacher, the guide, the mentor, and the person who knows when to let go and get out of their way.
My greatest leadership challenge ever is raising Ashley. Through her, I’ve got to prove my concepts about the value of service and the meaning of empowerment. Because one day, without a doubt, she will be my most important legacy.
I hope I know the right time to get out of the way and let her lead. I hope you know your right time too!
PS: Check out this great article about Five Ways to Raise Your Kids to Be Better Leaders and Entrepreneurs: