I like talking to my parents.
Well, it’s actually more like screaming at my dad. At 83, his hearing is fading fast. Our family broke in a new grandson-in-law at Christmas. He thought we were disrespecting our patriarch by yelling at him, but by the end of his first night there, he figured it out.
Between my parents, they have one hundred and sixty-one years on this earth. That’s right, 161 years. With that sort of age and experience comes wisdom, patience, and a perspective that assures us younger folks that everything will be just fine.
If you have parents or grandparents this age, you probably recognize the same traits I do with this generation.
- They delay gratification. Born during the Great Depression, my parents are fond of saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” (My dad recently chastised my mom for buying too many stamps on their fixed income. She has small problem with writing thank you notes. If you haven’t received one from her, just go post something nice on her Facebook page and wait 48 hours.)
- They sacrifice. My dad would give you the shirt of his back, though at eighty-three many would prefer that he keep it on. And you better decide quickly if you really need it because if you change your mind, he won’t hear you begging him to stop. You can’t unsee that. My parents’ generation sacrificed for God, country, and fellow man—even for those they may not have known that well. Service and sacrifice was honorable, expected, and for the greater good. It wasn’t done in hopes of getting a book deal and fifteen minutes of fame.
- They are respectful, compassionate. I remember telling my mom that Elvis had died as she came out of my aunt’s fabric store in August of 1977. She cried. And not because Elvis had put on a few. She cried because a decent human being had succumbed to the lure of fame. “Such a pity,” I remember her saying. She knew he stumbled down the path of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but she preferred to remember the human side of Elvis.
- They are ambitious, but not vicious. My parents and their generation got stuff done. But if they disagreed with each other on the road to progress, they didn’t launch a smear campaign on social media. Here’s why:
- There was no social media.
- Their grandkids weren’t born yet to help them with social media.
- Their discussions were more civil.
Somehow, their generation figured out how to hold onto their principles and still show respect to those that opposed them.
Which brings us to today’s post.
I visited my parents just the other day. I was yelling with my dad in the kitchen about the Presidential election. My mom—across the house in the den—could still hear the conversation clearly and chimed in when she could.
I believe the word that best described their mood was disgust. I simply threw out the changing of the guard with our presidents and both parents raised their hackles like dogs guarding a ham bone.
“I’m so sick and tired of all this yelling back and forth,” my dad yelled. My mom and I cut our eyes at each other—the irony of his statement did not escape us.
“Back in the Navy…” I went ahead and got comfortable. This was going to take a while. “… back in the Navy our leaders had one job. They took us kids from all over the country and made us one. Sure we were all different, but our sergeant made darn sure we knew the battle was outside our company, not inside.”
The best advice is always simple, isn’t it?
My dad was right. All the strategy, research, analytics, meetings, goals, and communication performed by leaders really has one purpose: UNITY. Without it, progress grinds to a halt. With it, the sky is the limit.
President Trump will go down in history if he figures out how to bring us together. Judging by his recent social media posts, he may go down in flames.
I want my president to be noble. I want him to draw us together with his character. I want little kids to see his honorable actions and speech and dream of being the president.
Leaders should possess the maturity to rise above petty arguments. He or she should not be drawn into an eye-for-an-eye power struggle. Is anyone keeping score anyway? The good leaders I have experienced are those that can take diversity of thought, behavior, and people and meld it into one purpose.
How are you doing with creating UNITY in your company, organization, or department? Can you really do that? Can you make it a point to get everyone working together toward the same purpose?
UNITY happens when a leader MANAGES these five (5) things consistently. Click on the template below to see the five components, and how you can master them.
President Trump, I know you are kind of busy right now, but if you want to make America great again, UNITE us.