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Lessons in Leadership from a 13 Year Old on the Gridiron

By this point in our careers, we fully know that leadership isn't dependent upon your title. Rather, it's how we inspire, motivate and collaborate with those around us in order to achieve a common goal and to perform at the highest level.

My oldest son has loved football for as long as I can remember. He can tell you about nearly every play, player, team and coach in the NFL and college divisions. (Meanwhile, I couldn't even tell you what any of the positions do!) He's dedicated to the sport, spending nearly a dozen hours each week in practices or games for his own team. And while I admire his commitment to his craft, what makes me most proud as a mom, is how he leads those around him. Mainly his younger brother.

He stays late after his own practices to watch his younger brother and encourage him. He attends nearly every game of his brother's, even though he's old enough to stay home alone and has plenty of friends he could be spending time with. He sprints to the sidelines after games or practices to carry his little brother's helmet and shower him with motivation...even after a loss. He leads by example - relentless in his own practices; never complaining, always focused. Anytime there's a shred of doubt or frustration with the younger player, my oldest is quick to provide an alternate perspective that shifts the entire direction of the conversation.

My oldest encourages his younger athlete brother to practice, to give his best, and to keep working hard. He truly cares about his brother performing to the best of his talents. He inspires him to do better. And to be honest, he's one of the best leaders I have seen.

If you think back to your favorite leader, coach or mentor - how would you describe them? Likely they cared about you as a person, found ways to motivate you, pulled out the best of you and challenged you to be better. Much like my oldest. Yet, he doesn't have a title or fancy name badge that indicates he's a leader. He just is.

As working moms, we have immense value in the transferrable skills that we bring home from our careers. Regardless of our titles, how we lead others in the workplace has great value and impact on our families. And whether we like it or not, children are always watching and learning from us. While my kids may have picked up a few choice words from watching and listening to me...(oops!), I'm grateful that they've also picked up a few nuggets on leadership.

I have learned a lot from the people I've coached over the years. After all, learning isn't a one way street. But truth be told, I have also enjoyed the lessons learned from observing my own children. It's easy for us to get caught up in crossing things off of our never ending to-do list every day, and miss the moments to pause and learn from our children. Today, I encourage you to look for ways to recognize leadership within your children, and to nurture that skillset. You might just find out you have leaders in the making!


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Hi, I'm Lacy Jungman

I'm a Certified Working Genius Facilitator, an executive leader, writer, speaker and mom.

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Creativity. Productivity. Vision.

It might be cliche, but knowledge truly is power. The more we know about ourselves, the more confident we become. Working Genius workshops are key for individuals and businesses alike.


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