Lesson #3: Lead by Example
Princess Diana believed that actions speak louder than words and led by example in her interactions with her children. She taught them kindness, compassion, and empathy through her own actions. How did the Princess do that? By bringing them along with her as she performed her royal duties. So, in 1993, Prince William, then 9 months, accompanied his parents on their trip to Australia and New Zealand. This action set a precedent; since then, Prince William and Prince Harry have had their own children on business trips. Quite a bit different from the mothering of Queen Elizabeth.
In the recent Forbes article, by Maura Thomas, What Does Work-Life Balance Even Mean? “To some, work-life balance means the convenience of managing a personal life during the workday without the hassle of getting permission or explaining our activities to others. Another common definition of work-life balance is equal time or priority to personal and professional activities.'” Whichever way you look at the work-life balance issue, Princess Diana was a true trailblazer in this regard. Years later, the monarchy was finally endorsing the concept of work-life balance.
Reflecting on my mothering skills and leading by example, I think of the early days of my professional career and as a young mother. I worked in academia, and my job required me to be there for extra hours to entertain recruiters searching for new hires. Early on, I brought my son to work occasionally. I also worked at home one or two days per week. My direct report understood the importance of work-life balance. And I was grateful for his flexibility at a time when remote working was rare. In life, we have to balance work and our family, especially in jobs where time is demanded.
My other lead-by-example was in spirituality, thanks to my dad. Growing up, my dad was a big proponent of “going to church.” Sundays were the week’s highlight for us as a family, although my dad would sing in the choir, and I would sit in church with my mother. I think for my dad, it was the fact that his family went to church together. We arrived together, and we left together. I also think he was trying to be obedient to God. Train your child up in the Lord.
I saw it much more as a spiritual thing for me and my kids. Not so much as an obedience to God thing. It was vital for me to expose my children to faith. A religion where God created the universe. God is love. And God can bring comfort to you when you need it. My lead by example was my unwavering faith. Faith in God. Faith in marriage. Faith in myself. Faith in my children.