A Child, A Toddler, and Leadership

I recently vacationed with family and had dedicated time with our grandsons. 

They are excellent at processing information and making decisions appropriate for their ages.

A Child

I had the pleasure of having our oldest grandson as my seatmate on the plane and in the automobile.

When on our excursions, he was quick to ensure that everyone was in the vehicle before taking off. While on field trips, the teacher would call out names, and each person would answer, “Present.” Our response was, “Check.”

The oldest grandson was also adventurous and created space for us to join him in his activities. First, he searched the walking trail in hopes of finding fossils. Then, he excavated the hillside in his search to find unusual rocks.

While we didn’t find the ancient treasures he sought, he generated excitement about the possibilities. His mind was open to the unknown. His curiosity made it possible to imagine without borders, and he made other exciting discoveries.

A Toddler 

The youngest grandson didn’t get left out of leadership. He demonstrated the “trust but verify” strategy as a leader. When he inquired about his Mom’s whereabouts, it was not sufficient to tell him she was out of the building. We needed to take him to the space and show him she was not there. Only then did he become content.

Interacting with my grandsons was an important reminder. No matter one’s station in life or job title, there is a leader within that will emerge if nurtured.

Leadership Lessons 

Leaders look out for the greater good of others. 

There is no “me only” focus.  Leaders know the end goals are achieved when all are present, accounted for, and actively engaged.

Leaders are open to the possibilities of achieving the impossible. We break through filters that limit our vision; we discover options and solutions to problems not otherwise considered through that lens. 

Leaders create the space for others to flourish. 

Yet, that does not diminish the responsibility of being present to coach, troubleshoot roadblocks, and reinforce expectations. 

For example, leaders trust they have selected the right person for an assignment. However, they periodically check in (not to be confused with micromanagement) to establish mutual accountability as stakeholders in delivering exceptional results.

Finally, leaders trust that others have the capabilities and want to deliver stellar results. For example, our 5-year old grandson took the photo featured in this article. As we brought our time on vacation to an end, he captured the beauty of the skies in the way he desired.

As my grandson’s senior leader, he didn’t have to take the photo my way. Instead, he used his imagination and achieved our purpose. He vividly captured the moment and memories of our ending vacation time together as grandson and Noni!

“That’s what leaders do – share the space so each individual can bring their best to the table!”

Lillian Davenport

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Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport

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Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and leadership strategist. Her signature program, M3 LeadershipSM, prepares you to enhance and develop your self-awareness, embrace your inner strength, and lead with confidence, courage, and impact.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.