On Saturday, my oldest daughter and I got to spend some time together, just the two of us. We went into New York City to see the show Matilda on Broadway before it closes at the end of this year. And while we were there, we also went and had dinner together in Times Square.
It can be pretty rare for us to get significant alone time with our daughters individually. Most of what we tend to do we do as a family, aside from sports and birthday parties, which often require us to “divvy up” the responsibilities and take our kids separately to different places.
It was great to see my daughter in a slightly different environment. While she and her sister are best friends, they are also worst enemies. Being together often brings out the best of them, and the worst. Sometimes at the same time.
So, it was nice to see my daughter behaving like a very mature young lady, complete with sharing appropriately, being kind to strangers, and following important rules that come along with being in a place that isn’t well-known, complete with many, many, people. I was able to be extremely positive in my parenting; I did not need to go into the much more disciplinary roles that can sometimes happen on a daily basis.
It was refreshing, actually.
After we saw the show and were sitting at dinner, she said to me, “Daddy, this was such a great trip.” And I agreed. How could I not? It was really nice to just spend some time alone with her.
This made me think a lot about how those in our professional and personal lives sometimes find themselves in roles and situations that don’t always reflect who they truly are, or who they can truly be. Sometimes, the interplay between others, or simply the environment that they are in, forces people to be different than they might want to be otherwise.
Therefore, it falls on us to make sure we individually get to know all those we work with, and get to know them in a variety of different places and spaces, all to better understand what works for them, and what doesn’t.
That’s a key part of leadership, I’ve found. Finding the best ways to bring out the best in others. Often, that requires us to explore situations differently, or to put people in different situations then they were in prior.
My experience with my daughter helped remind me that we can never truly know who people are unless we are willing to see them in a variety of different environments and at a variety of different times. Relationships form best when we can exchange the lenses we see them through.