I grew up during a time when dads were not expected
to be involved with their families. The message for them
was to sacrifice everything related to home and to be the sole
providers for their families.
Gender roles were at extreme poles.
Moms were mons, and dads were...well, unfortunately not
allowed to be dads.
Fortunately, times have changed. The 21st century is
a time where we are all trying to find the center in our
Women are trying to break in to
higher levels of the workplace and men are trying to
break out. The reality
is that the old suit that men have worn for years doesn't fit
them any longer. Like women, men want fuller
lives. We may not be completely there yet, but we are
certainly moving in the right direction.
But we often come up against the wrath of old
thinking. Rigid roles of the past are passť. And
yet, they do pop up in our heads too frequently. Dads
who choose to stop working at 4pm to rush home to coach their
kid's baseball team have to confront this judgment. As
do fathers who chose to become stay-at-home dads. Even
worst, what about the guy that wants to reinvent himself and
step away from a high-paying, high-stress job to pursue a
"less practical" passion?
When I wrote my book, The Connected and
Committed Leader, my hope was to help redefine
leadership in the workplace so that collectively, men and
women could thrive. It is not about achieving balance, but
finding a center in the extremes that no longer work for us.
In other words, creating work that works in today's
world. Since my leadership insights draw on the
heart-driven aspects of parenting and apply them back to
business, many people thought that my book was strictly geared
towards women. After all, how often do we speak of home
when it comes to men? Not often enough.
However, in my work today with corporate and
entrepreneurial professionals, I find men really connect to my
insights in different ways than women. Men are seeking
permission to shed the corporate
armor and to be more human at work
and at home. Where as women are looking for
validation that they can keep being
themselves without the armor and still be successful in
In truth, we are all tired of the old ways; the
rigid hierarchies and the command and control models no longer
Armin Brott, better known as "Mr. Dad" is an author of
eight books trying to change how our society and the workplace
look at men as dads. He believes that there is still too much
societal expectation for men to be "tough" resulting in them
becoming emotionally removed and unavailable. As a
result, families, workplaces and society as a whole suffer.
I agree completely.
Leadership at home and at work requires emotional
presence. If we don't allow men to bring this forth, how
can workplaces and homes thrive and move beyond where we are
today? Men have to be able to shed some of that armor in
order to be connected to those around them. Ironically,
when they do, they become even more influential and can make a
Here are some things
to think about:
Believe and Let Go
Control is not leadership. Believing in others and
guiding them to excellence, is. When you control, you
are controlled by the need to control. You are unable to
connect when you attempt to control and fix everything.
When you let go, you can become the leader that is already
within you. Start first by believing in that leader
within you and let go. The first place to address these
judgments and expectations that society has on you, is by
addressing it first within yourself. When you start to
believe and let go, you give yourself this permission and in
turn, help others around you to do the same.
Be Receptive and Yield
The word receptivity is often attributed to women. Women
receive, but men don't. However, in order to lead, we
must first receive. To receive is to be in a position of
guidance. You can only guide others when you
are open enough to receive them and their ideas. When
men start to receive they begin to loosen that burden they
carry, and as a result, they become more available and
connected to those around them. This fosters a position
of strength that enables growth in you and in
Be Vulnerable and Give of
We all know that the stereotype exists that men don't
like to ask for directions. Why? Because that would mean
that they are vulnerable. Strength comes from stretching
yourself to be more and more comfortable with
vulnerability. That stretch develops a resiliency that
is necessary for leaders. The best leaders are those
that are vulnerable enough to know that they can be on the
bottom of the heap tomorrow. Those that believe that
they are above-the-rest and can't and won't ever tumble... are
in a position to break. Think Bernie.
In summary, when I conducted my research with business
professionals and asked them about the leaders who influenced
them the most in their lives, 90% said it was a parent.
A mom or a dad. So, to all of you dads that
are leaders and aspiring to better ones each and every day,
Happy Father's Day!
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Laura is a sought-after keynote speaker, award-winning
author of The Connected and Committed Leader, and
business and life coach who has been featured on the Today
Show and Fox News. In addition, her accomplishments have been
highlighted in several business periodicals including The Long
Beach Business Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Latina
Magazine, and Central Valley Business Times. Her articles on
management and leadership are regularly seen in Leadership