True leadership is a tricky balance of supporting and challenging — whether you are a parent, coach, teacher, or leader on the job.
It’s a hard balance to maintain. You want to push kids and challenge them to do their best AND you should encourage them so that they will keep trying. Unfortunately, parents, coaches and leaders tend to lean heavy on one or the other.
The result is that some parenting/leadership models do not help others reach their potential.
In the book The 100X Leader, authors Kubicek and Cochran explain 4 leadership models that come from the support/challenge matrix; those models are: Protect, Abdicate, Liberate, and Dominate.
Let’s look at each model and see which one you fit into.
Protect: Creating a culture of entitlement
Those who fall into this parenting/leadership model give more support and rarely take time to challenge or explain reasonable expectations. It may feel normal to you as a parent or leader, but in reality, this overprotection “creates a culture of entitlement and mistrust.”
A person who protects sees even healthy challenge as conflict and does anything they can to avoid it. They just want everyone to get along, and shy way from challenging someone because it can cause conflict.
A parent who does this tends to step in more; they will try to fix situations for their kids just to avoid conflict.
Abdicate: Creating a culture of apathy and low expectation
Ever been around parents or leaders who seem like they’ve just given up on trying to keep control?
They do this for many reasons: they may be overwhelmed by the demands of the job, fearful of being rejected, burned out, or maybe they don’t believe that what they are doing really matters or is making a difference.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen parents do this. And the sad fact is that many of these parents don’t even realize they’ve abdicated. They abdicate by being inconsistent in their parenting and letting their kids determine when mom/dad will or will not follow through.
I’ve also seen parents of teens who figure kids are going to be kids and nothing they say or do matters, so they let them run wild.
Dominate: Creating a culture of fear and manipulation
Parents who dominate challenge their kids and push them, but offer little support and encouragement. As 100X says, “It is the art of requiring much, resourcing little, which is not fair to those we lead or love.”
I’ve seen a lot of sports parents do this and most are not evil people. They are just focused on getting results and will often use fear tactics to do so.
You will never play in college if you don’t practice harder!
You cannot make the varsity squad if you are going to play like that.
Challenging kids is one thing; using fear to manipulate is quite another.
Liberate: creating a culture of empowerment and opportunity
Simply put, to liberate your kids is to empower them; it means to fight for their highest possible good. And doing that means that as parents, coaches, and leaders, you balance challenging kids with supporting them.
That is a balance that every good coach needs to practice. Challenging and supporting.
That is a balance that every parent must keep to see their kids thrive. Challenging and supporting.
The best parents and leaders operate as liberators, but quite honestly we all visit the other 3 parenting models now and then. However, the more you practice being a liberator parent, the more effective you become at raising up leaders and champions.
Be honest, which parent model looks most like you?