mile 11

Some of the stuff my daughter would complain about when she was younger made me feel like she needed to toughen up.

I remember talking about this to a counselor and bringing up that sentiment. Her response surprised me.

She asked me what I thought my role was when my daughter aired her complaints.

I said to help my daughter handle tough situations.

She clarified, asking me to choose between two options

1. Change my daughter’s mind and feelings about the situation
2. Model the behavior I want my daughter to emulate

Between those two choices, modeling behavior was more important. But I countered–wasn’t I supposed to help her toughen up, even a little bit?

The counselor told me if I brought my own emotions and expectations into how I wanted my daughter to behave, I became part of the problem.

Reluctantly, I saw her point. That conversation changed my perspective and my behavior. Over time, as I tried to model behavior more than correct it, I saw the difference it made. My daughter became more resilient without me telling her to do it.

What’s been interesting to observe since I learned about the power of modeling behavior is how often a similar parallel comes up in the office. When employees or customers complain, leaders, like parents, want their employees or customers to toughen up. They want the complaints to stop. And they start venting at their customers or employees. What they should be doing is modeling behavior.

We all take cues from leaders and when we are confronted with tough situations, we want a role model, not a leader who mocks us or tells us we need to toughen up.

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