A family must be more than who you are born or live with; it must be anyone you care about. #QuoteADay #Day152 #edchat #edu #Community
I read a great "Riff" in the New York Times Magazine this week. Written by Eric Spitznagel, it explore the true meaning of family (here's the link).
This got me to thinking a lot about what a family truly is, and as I contemplated this, I started to think about the fact that family isn't just those who you live with or whose company you are born into, but, in reality, all the people who you care about.
This means a lot for leadership, as our organization should operate like families, complete with all the successes, failures, and drama that we've come to expect in life.
A family has to have all these characteristics, as change, success, loss, drama, etc., all build tighter relationships, sometimes surprisingly. Spitznagel writes how the loss of his father led to a much closer, and somewhat stranger, relationship with his brother. Even associated drama (addiction, bad life choices, etc.) can actually make a family operate better than if that challenge wasn't present.
When we consider our leadership, we have to ask ourselves, "Are we leading a group of people who might have one or two things in common, or are we leading a family?"
If we respond with the former, here are three things we can do to move from fostering acquaintances to family members:
1. Make your leadership all about the relationships. Get to know those you work with and work for. Learn names, habits, likes, and dislikes. Encourage all members of your team to do the same.
2. Celebrate like a family. Hold impromptu get-togethers , if not at your house, than somewhere else. Bring people together at your school, district office, or place of business for everything from book studies to Game of Thrones viewings.
3. Ask for feedback. Welcome any information shared, as long as it is constructive and truly meant to better the experience for everyone.
While we can't pick the family we're born into, we can influence the family we build professionally. Always keep in mind that families support each other much better than total strangers do.