Recently I received an invitation from a man to connect with his adult child on LinkedIn. He went on to underscore the value of networking. While I agree that this can be useful, this could also be putting the cart before the horse.
Think about it. Networking is all about exposure. But what is getting exposed? Arrogance or humility? A value system where focus is on self or others? A meaningful human connection or a sales call? Trustworthiness or mistrust? All about me vs what can I do to support your success?
Parents oftentimes can be blind to their child’s ability to engage others in a way that people like their experience of themselves while interacting with this child in question. Be willing to scrutinize for evidence those very behaviors you’d rather not see, all the while reinforcing all those good behaviors you do easily recognize in them.
If you want to help your adult child become a trusted leader, you may not have to spend a dime. It is possible your parenting has already offered your child a style of relating that draws people in as opposed to one that turns people away. The most coveted asset a leader can have is trustworthiness.
I have known parents who stifled their child’s social development because they were so afraid of disappointing their kid. I’ve also known parents confident enough to do the right thing even when it made them unpopular with their children. Check out this video that recently went viral, all because one parent took the big bold step to teach her child a very important lesson in humanity. http://www.wral.com/mother-makes-son-shop-at-goodwill-as-punishment-for-making-fun-of-classmates-clothes/17447096/ I believe her son was basically a good kid because he did cry some, signaling remorse.
The biggest gift to your children rests in their social development. If you have cultivated a humanistic leadership style in your own professional career, your child has a much greater likelihood to do the same. Research is clear that children of all ages are likely to emulate that which they observe in their parents, even when those witnessed behaviors oppose the ones the parents have taught. It therefore makes sense for parents to engage in lifelong learning to become the best human being they can possible be. The ripple effect can penetrate a few more generations, potentially creating some world-class trusted leaders bearing their genes.