Desmond Courtney, Leadership Waterloo RegionLately I've been doing a lot of thinking about the relationship between leadership and parenting. I love how similar the concepts of leading people in the workplace are to raising a family. When we boil it down, I think being a leader at work and being a parent is all about having a vision for where you want to go and consistently taking steps towards that goal. Every day.

Here’s what we know: Behviour breeds behaviour and it happens whether we want it to or not. I have a friend who has a rather peculiar habit that illustrates the point. Every day when my friend comes home from work he takes his socks off and leaves them in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Now, while that alone is peculiar enough, it gets better. It’s not just the fact that he removes his socks in the kitchen; it’s how he does it. My friend walks in the door after a long day at work, proceeds into the kitchen and then steps on the toe of his left sock with the heel of his right foot and slides his foot out of the first sock. He then uses the heel on his newly born bare foot to step down on the toe of the other sock and slides his left foot out into sockless freedom, all without breaking his stride.

Now, while that entire process of sock removal is peculiar enough, it gets better. My friend’s 6 year old son has observed his father’s sock removal behaviour and now emulates the exact same behaviour. What’s fascinating about this is that there was never a moment when my friend sat his son down and said, “Son, today I’m going to teach you how to take your socks off in the kitchen.” There was never any formal instruction on what this odd behaviour should look like; it was simply observed and assimilated as the way things are done around their house.

Behaviour breeds behaviour whether we want it to or not. The power, privilege, and potential of leadership is that we can have influence over other people’s lives in a meaningful way, simply by being clear and intentional about how and who we lead. Take advantage of your leadership influence and see the difference you can make. Every day.

About the Author: Desmond Courtney

Desmond is passionate about leadership that empowers people and strengthens organizations. He has worked with a variety of organizations from Fortune 100 companies to non-profit organizations in Canada and internationally.  He is a dynamic and engaging facilitator that brings the best out in people.  In his current role as a Leadership Development Specialist with Economical Insurance in Waterloo, he is responsible for designing and delivering leadership development programs and services for each level of leadership across the organization.  Desmond is an active community volunteer serving on the Volunteer Action Centre of K-W Board of Directors, the Leadership Waterloo Region Curriculum Committee, The Business & Education Partnership Speakers Bureau, and the Trillium Childhood Cancer Support Centre.  Desmond holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brock University and Master’s degree specialized in Work, Organizations and Leadership from Athabasca University.