My Children’s Reflections of “Leadership Lessons”
I Shared With Them
Several years ago, I wrote the following request to my four children:
“I am going to be talking to a group of P&G new hires and interns next week. One of the questions they have asked me to address is ‘What are the top 3 leadership lessons that you’ve shared with your own children?’
Would you be willing to share what you have experienced, assuming you have experienced this at all in these terms? To the extent you can, it would make it a much better answer.
Here is what they wrote me. I am very happy to re-read this today They give me more credit than I’m due…but still!!
1. From my oldest son, John: “Approach every job (position) as though it is the job you will have for the rest of your career. Have an unwavering belief in people and their potential (even when risking disappointment/failure). Never drink more than 2 beers in one night. No whining, crying, or fussing.”
2. From my middle son, David: “Work hard. Do what you think is right. The third lesson seemed to be a rotation of many different things.”
3. From my youngest son, Doug: “No one senior or junior to you ever worked harder or cared more about what they were doing. Truly listening and caring about what others are working on. No matter what the situation, always relying on core values to drive decisions. No shortcuts.”
4. From my daughter, Susan: “I am going against my natural instinct and am replying instantly to this email, rather than asking for more time. Here are some thoughts that come to mind.
Keep your integrity—do what’s right (you used to try out scenarios—what if you find a competitor’s briefcase in the taxi, what should you do, and you’d go through the options). Be good to people and entrust them with responsibility—help them develop their leadership skills. Be passionate about what you do (or do something for which you are passionate)—by having your heart in it, it makes it easier to truly inspire others. (An extra one)—Be ready to work as long as it takes to get the job done, but also make time to take care of yourself (exercise, eat well, nurture your mind/intellect), your family, and your community (because we depend on these things for our own strength).”