Parents of teenagers will understand this. (You’ll still grasp the meaning without rushing out and having a child.)

A senior leader and I were discussing the joys and challenges of being a father to teenage daughters. He shared, “The other day I asked her with a smile, ‘What’s the best thing that happened to you today?’ And what did I get in return? Rolled eyes and a slow shake of the head.”


My friend laughed and then sighed. “So I look around the room and wonder, ‘Am I an idiot?’ What have I done or missed that would provoke such a response?”


I laughed. I often live the same experience with my daughter.


My friend reminds me that values-based leadership is a lifestyle. It takes courage to play the long game, to see beyond the insulting moments and do what’s right – even when the feedback falsely suggests we’re incompetent. It takes guts to communicate ‘I’m in your corner’ when the person hearing the message wants to shove you out.


Here’s to the mothers and fathers, the people, and the leaders who are able to serve others even when they’re not being served in return. Here’s to your ability to move forward. You inspire.




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