Success in business requires a lot of mental toughness. Difficult decisions have to be made. Toughness towards employees is required to bring them to a higher level of performance. With others, it can be survival of the fittest, a zero sum game where one has to come out on top in order to succeed.
Success in business also typically requires a certain demonstration of invincibility. “Never show weakness” is the mantra of many a successful business leader. The more successful the business person, the more hard-wired that character trait often tends to be.
Enter a child into the family and perhaps eventually into the business. While “never show weakness” might work well in business, it can work poorly when it comes to family. Children like to see their parents as strong people they can look up to and learn from. However, if the parent projects himself as invincible the child might feel that he or she can never measure up which in turn can negatively impact the child’s confidence level.
Once the child’s confidence level is impacted, the parent sees that and might react with disappointment. The child feels the parent’s disappointment, which then further impacts the child’s confidence level and a downward spiral ensues.
The problem is compounded even further if the parent “never shows weakness” towards the children like he does towards people in business.
A little bit of self-awareness when it comes to this can go a long way towards opening lines of communication and breaking through family barriers that previously felt impenetrable.
No one is perfect, not even the most successful business leader. Admitting the mistakes you have made with your children might be the most difficult thing for you to do, but it might ultimately be the most rewarding.