Archive for October, 2011

Positive Parenting Tip: How to Empower Children with the Word NO!

October 17th, 2011 7 comments

Many parents, especially those with toddlers, can feel very conflicted when their child tells them “no”.  As a mother, I remember many days when I felt like all I heard from my toddlers was this negative word.  After watching a family member with her children, I began to realize the word “no” can be empowerment for children of all ages.

My husband and his siblings were raised in a “children should be seen and not heard” family. The word “no” was a punishable offense.  When my honey and I began our journey of child rearing, we decided to take a different tact.  Rather than feeling like the word “no” was a slap in our face, we decided to take a more laid back approach and not take offense at this word.  We decided we would rather teach our children how to say no, thus showing them how to take responsibility of knowing their own mind.  We believe this is how kids learn.  We decided to reason with our oppositional child.  Not a popular tactic in his family.  We were considered the “marshmallow” parents.

My sister-in-law on the other hand, took the word “no” as a battle cry.  It took her until her children were 5 years old to whip them into shape.  They became docile and obedient children.  The family felt, hands down, she was the better parent.  My children, on the other hand, said “no” when they felt like it and were considered “head strong and strong willed”.

Fast forward 10 years, all the children became teenagers.  The docile 5 year olds who had learned saying no was a punishable offense became docile and compliant teenagers to not only their parents, but to their teen peers. A docile teenager sounds inviting, doesn’t it?  But, is it?

We all know, the teenage years open up a new vista of temptations.  The obedient docile children who never learned it was okay to say no had a very hard time saying it to the temptations of youth.  They suffered from guilty feelings if they said no to their friends.

Our kids, on the other hand, knew how to say the negative word with impunity.  They still faced the same temptations as any other teen, but the lines of communication stayed open with us.

We had to deal with tough subjects like any other parent.  Did they run wild and have no sense of self discipline?  No, on the contrary.  They came to us as sounding boards.  Many times, instead of being a good listener and confidant, I would have rather stayed “down by the river of de-Nile” than to discuss those sensitive issues with them.  But, when the lines of communication are open, I couldn’t sneak down by that river and park my van and take up residence.  I had to buck up and handle honest teenage situations with love and guidance.

When you are faced with a head strong toddler with the word “no” constantly on their lips, realize it’s okay for them to voice their challenge to you.  Instead of pulling out your hair, smile and know you are protecting your child.  They are learning life lessons from you which will serve them for many years to come.  The word “no” can be empowering.  When your teenager needs to say no, help them learn how to do it.  Keep those lines of communication open, even when you’d rather be down by the river.

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9 Things That’ll Put the Smack Down on Your Leadership Style!

October 14th, 2011 12 comments

We all love success stories!  Stories about people who have beat all the odds and have won the prize of doing something extraordinary with their lives.  In the days of old, ballads would be sung of their successes.  We, as leaders, may not be going for the rousing lusty  ballad, or the cover of Newsweek magazine.  We are looking to lead a group of people to accomplish a worthwhile goal.  When the leader does it well, it can lead to some exceptional things.

Why does one leader accomplish so many great things, and another flounders along with their team?  What are excellent leadership characteristics which make a strong leader versus a mediocre leader?  I don’t think anyone takes a leadership role wanting to fail their team.  I believe there are 9 things which can trip up a leader and get them traveling down the wrong path. If we have any of these things going against us, an adjustment of thinking and action can increase our good leadership qualities and we can become a stronger team leader.

Let’s take a brief look at these 9 things:

1.  A ineffectual leader disengages from actively leading their team.  Instead of having a participative leadership style, they become managers who study reports and relegate themselves to pushing paper.

2.  They no longer have their finger on the pulse of their team.  They become dictators and force their issues upon the team without regard to what is actually happening within the team.

3.  They treat their team as if it was a democracy, wanting everyone’s input.  They watch their poll numbers, so to speak, and can’t call the unpopular shots.

4.  They make decisions based on individuals instead of the team.  These decisions erode the teams well being.

5.  They look out for only the well being of the leader, spiraling down into self servitude at the cost of the team.  This includes making decisions by their own pocketbook and not for the good of the group.

6. They don’t reward the innovators.  The leader believes they are the only ones with ideas worth pursuing.

7.  They are jealous or intimidated by strong leaders on the team.  They squelch leadership tendencies instead of rewarding them.

8.  They are unable to use self discipline.  An undisciplined leader can’t lead a disciplined team.

9.  They have no idea what moves their team.  They don’t know their individual team members goals and dreams.  Most people will do extraordinary things for something or someone they hold dear to their hearts.

We, as leaders, may never have a ballad sung about us.  But the ability to effectively lead a great team is an accomplishment.  Avoiding the 9 pitfalls of leadership is a start to great team leadership.

Effective leaders always strive to learn more about leadership. Leave us a comment and let us know something you have found to be effective or something that doesn’t work.  As John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

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