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This chapter is from the book

Secret #1 Applies to Other Life Experiences

We just reviewed two business leadership examples. But what about comparing status or position in our personal lives? We see examples of it every day—with parents, teachers, or even staff at our local coffee shops. The Starbucks barista has less authority within his/her position than the store manager. If you occasionally visit coffee shops, you understand that after you are known as a “regular,” you are hoping to interact with the person who connects with you, remembers your favorite drink in the morning—versus the afternoon—and makes some type of comment that makes you feel recognized or special. You are not at all concerned about whether you are dealing with the manager—you just want to interact with the person who has proven credibility and who you trust to know your preferences! The real power is the positive impact this person leaves as you walk or drive away!

School principals have more authority within their organizations than teachers. When it comes to your kids and how they are performing in school, do you think first about the highest authority position to deal with, or do you think about talking with the individual teacher who is interacting with your child? Typically, the person you want to talk with is the person who has the greatest influence on your child’s situation—the teacher!

Credibility in Parenting

“Charles” and “Linda” are the parents of two young children. They’re a typical young family; both parents work, with precious little time to themselves and with the demands of a four- and two-year-old, plus balancing the rest of their hectic lives—they can feel pretty stressed at times. Occasionally, they lose patience with their kids, and occasionally, they give in to the demands those kiddos place upon them. Generally, though, they treat parenting as their top priority. They make mistakes, like we all do. But, they send very strong messages to their children that they are loved, and that they as parents will set the rules and boundaries for their lives on a daily, consistent basis. Their children are delightful to be around.

“Susan” and “Steve” are also parents. Their children have been raised in very similar circumstances regarding schedules, working parents, and so on. Unfortunately, though, Susan and Steve have raised their children as an afterthought. It’s sad, but in reality, it is true. They were not ready to take on the responsibility of raising kids.

A typical day in the lives of Susan, Steve, and their kids goes something like this:

Kid says:

“I want to go to the school roller skating party on Friday night.”

Parent says:

“We’ll talk about it later.”

Kid says (next day):

“I want to go to the roller skating party Friday night.”

Parent says:

“I told you...we will talk about it later!”

Friday night arrives, and the kid is demanding to go. The parents, after all the nondiscussions, are resisting. The kid has a temper tantrum. And...the punishment for the tantrum is:

“You WILL NOT go anywhere tonight or all weekend because of your behavior!”

No one enjoys being around Susan and Steve with their children. It is always a scene of loud disagreement, and the children are becoming sulkier and more difficult in general.

The difference here? Personal credibility. Charles and Linda have established it with their children. Their kids are learning that their parents will behave in a certain way that they can rely on and trust. Susan and Steve have lost credibility and, unfortunately, don’t even realize it. Their children don’t know if they will be ignored, punished, or even indulged because their parents don’t want to deal with the pressure the kids place on them. Steve and Susan just know they are extremely stressed and have children who are likely to have meltdowns. The status or power of being a parent doesn’t mean anything—both sets of parents have the power of the position of parent—it is the parents’ credibility (or lack of it) that leaves the impact on children and others.

Honestly answer the following questions. Be sure to consider both your professional and work situations as you do.

1.

Why do others respond positively to me when I request something from them?

In my personal life:

_______________________________________________________

In my work life:

_______________________________________________________

2.

If I had no authority to give direction, how likely is it that others would choose to respond positively to my direction?

In my personal life:

_______________________________________________________

In my work life:

_______________________________________________________

If your responses to these two questions indicate that you rely heavily upon the power, status, or position of the role you are in, you might want to think about that. If you are dependent upon “because I said so” to accomplish results in any part of your life, just think about it and how that might be impacting your personal credibility. Although position or status might help you gain short-term results or superficial respect from others, it rarely sustains for long periods of time. People who establish and maintain strong personal credibility have come to understand that their personal credibility factor is based on what they do—not the position or role that they have.

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