YOU are a Role Model

“To observe people in conflict is a necessary part of a child’s education. It helps him to understand and accept his own occasional hostilities and to realize that differing opinions need not imply an absence of love.” … Milton R Sapirstein

When children can see others disagree and disagree with respect and they see that nothing bad happens, what a terrific example! Disagreement is part of life. Becoming upset is part of life. The lesson to the children in our lives is all about how we treat ourselves and others during and after conflict.

Have you ever observed a child misbehaving and then hear their parent exclaim, “Who taught you how to behave like THAT?” Or “Where did you hear THAT word?” Of course my favorite example of this comes from years ago when I worked in the children’s clothing section of a large department store. A little girl of about five years of age dropped something and then said “Oh S**T!” Her mother smacked her and said, “Where did you learn to say that?” I had to turn my head very quickly and hide my laughter because the little girl said, “You just said it outside in the parking lot mommy.”

While I do agree that it is important for children to see the adults around them participate in conflict. I think this quote can and should be expanded to include team members, peers, subordinates, management, friends and family. YOU are a role model to the people around you. YOU have the ability to show the people close to you how to navigate conflict.

You don’t have to be in an official leadership role for this to be true. There are many people who don’t have fancy titles who set the tone for the behavior for their teams or in their offices. These are the people whose behavior is closely watched and mirrored by others around them. This could be YOU.

There is no reason for you to hide it when you have a difficult day. Just do the best you can to navigate the day with grace and humor.

YOU are a role model whether you know it or not! YOU have what it takes to set a good example.