Being a SPARK
Angie Morgan, March 20, 2017
I have two children.
My oldest, Judge, is a dreamer. When he was in Little League, he was the child in the outfield twirling around and, every-so-often, picking flowers. (Had he had a book with him, he would have plopped down, taken off his glove, and let every ball go by him.)
My youngest, Gardner, is a fierce competitor. He wants to win everything – races, prizes, arguments, etc. If there’s not a competition, he’ll create one. The other morning on school picture day, he asked me if I thought he was the world’s most handsome kindergartner. (After reminding him that it’s what’s inside that counts, he wasn’t satisfied. “Mom, is that a yes or a no?”)
While being a working mom has its challenges, one of my greatest ones is having the mental energy to be a leader to these beautiful, messy, creative, and demanding sources of infinite inspiration. By the time I’m off the clock at work, I have to show up for them in real ways that add real value to their lives, which can be rewarding … and so exhausting.
As a time-starved professional who’s constantly looking for more efficient ways to clean my house, shop for groceries, and do laundry, there’s no shortcut to being a leader to these two little guys. I have to take the time to meet them where they’re at. They’re different. Very different. And there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to leading them.
It takes intentional effort to hold them each accountable to their mistakes in a way that each “gets,” to offer praise to them in a manner that helps them build their confidence, and to schedule our lives to accommodate their own, unique interests … even when they are seemingly, logistically, impossible.
Being a leader to my children is like being part investigator, magician, and artist. But it’s also the most fulfilling leadership role I’ve held to date. Nothing warms my heart more than their giggles, or makes me beam with pride like seeing them accomplish something they’ve worked hard at.
I like to think of myself as a Spark – a doer, thinker and innovator whose approach to creative problem solving betters the lives of others. I know there are other Sparks out there, who balance so many different roles in their lives and feel empowered because they know their actions directly contribute to someone else’s success.
Courtney, Sean and I wrote SPARK for the dynamic, multi-faceted professionals we’ve met who fill a variety of challenging, yet fulfilling, leadership roles; the parents, volunteers, and ambitious professionals who make the world go around.
What unites us all is that we all need support, encouragement and additional sources of inspiration so we have the energy to show up as leaders when it matters most.
SPARK details seven leadership behaviors that we’ve relied on to be successful in all the leadership roles we fill. We hope it gives you insight into practices you can adopt so you too can be your best.