We often tend to look up to our parents, especially our fathers, as role models. We respect them for the passion they have for their careers, and this in turn can go on to influence our own paths. Stephan B. Poulter, a clinical psychologist who specialises in family relationships, explains in his book The Father Factor: How Your Father's Legacy Impacts Your Career how we tend to bring a bit of our father to our workplace, consciously or unconsciously. He divides them into categories based on their most common characteristics called ‘father factors’. These include: Superachiever, Time Bomb, Passive, Absent and Compassionate/Mentor. There are many entrepreneurs who admit that they owe a lot of their wisdom to their fathers.
Here are some of the things that we can learn from our fathers about entrepreneurship:
Learning by doing
You cannot be a perfect father just by reading parenting books by experts, and neither can you be a successful entrepreneur just because of a degree. No matter how hard you try, you can never be perfect right from the start. You can only learn by practice, and this involves risk as well. The trick is not to run away from the risks, but to face them bravely as and when required without hampering your returns.
Your priorities matter
Fathers, or rather parents, have a lot to deal with. They constantly juggle between their personal and professional lives. Ultimately, in times of crisis, they have to set their priorities right to plan the way ahead. Entrepreneurship is also a balancing act. This unpredictable journey can be completed with the help of prioritisation, proper planning, strategy and implementation.
Leading by example
Fathers set examples for the child by practising the same. Similarly, entrepreneurs have to lead their team by example, not by rigorous rules and codes of conduct.
“My father was a man of few words—he was my rock. My mother passed away when I was a teenager, leaving my father to learn how to take care of the cooking, cleaning and me. Never did I hear him complain about anything. I learned more from what my father did than from what he said. My father demonstrated that actions speak much louder than words, and he taught me the importance of being the way you want others to be—of being authentic.”
- Jay Larson, CEO of Birst, a provider of cloud-based enterprise-caliber business intelligence
Be a good listener
Our fathers have always been there for us whenever we needed them. They listened to all our silly tantrums without flinching. They have suggested ways to get out of our problems and promised us their support. Entrepreneurs, too, must learn to be available for their team. A compassionate leader goes a long way in keeping the team together. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, 65 percent of employees were ready to give up a pay hike for a good boss.
What are the entrepreneurship skills that you picked up from your father? Let us know in the comments section below.