Are You Managing or Leading Your Kids?


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A very wise & very famous person (Tony Robbins) once said, “a leader is someone who creates breakthroughs. Otherwise, you’re a manager.”

When I stumbled upon this, I was inspired and provoked. So simple, yet so profound. I instantly had a revelation of what this looked like in my line of work as a Project Manager – it was easy to see the stark differences in great leaders and simple managers throughout my employment history. But what I was more interested in was how this manifested in parenting …

Here’s What Came To Mind …

It’s easy to get lost in parenting – the schedules, the logistics, the problems and, hopefully, the solutions. It can seem like our minds naturally move in favor of completion-relation activities: i.e. things you can check off your to-do list. We feel better when schedules are kept, deadlines are met, life is in order and our to-do list fits on one page.

Why is this?

Yes, managing your life well is a very honorable and necessary thing. But when did proper management become the acceptable substitution for genuine, authentic, breakthrough-creating leadership?

I don’t know about you but when I look back on my life, and mentally review the time I was privileged to directly impact my children in parenting, I want to remember myself as a great leader. Not just a great manager.

The Blurred Line

At the newlymoms, we’ve been doing a lot of discovery work on leadership – what it truly is, and what it has become. We realized quickly that the line between leader and manager has become so blurry that the titles are virtually synonymous these days. In our church’s youth group, when the kids were asked why certain leaders appeared successful in their eyes, they responded mostly with the very clearly defined & measurable ability to organize – organize people, organize groups, organize tasks. And while these talents are all extremely important in the ultimate purpose of motivating individuals towards a goal, it is a means to an end.

And unfortunately for society today, managers and leaders are nowhere near the same thing. Every great leader is also a great manager, but not every manager is a leader. And, if we’re not careful, we’ll settle for the latter in spite of being called to and commissioned for the former.

So What’s the Difference?

Well, here’s a great starting point:

“Management is focusing on getting someone to get a result. Leadership is producing a standard in someone that when you’re gone, they will live by to produce higher level results consistently.”

Tony Robbins

These two purposes couldn’t be more different. In leadership, you actually facilitate the breakthrough of another by motivating them towards a standard they desire to keep for themselves – not just in your presence, to impress you or move up the food chain.

I can’t think of a better way to explain the difference between the two. One focus is tasks and achievements, accomplishments and milestones. The other focus is the heart of others, the people you’re leading. In other words, managers produce people who master tasks as they’re delegated. Leaders produce people who master themselves without ultimately needing delegation. Your fostering an inner transformation that changes the way people look at and manage themselves.

Leading Your Kids

So how does this look in parenting? Well, first and foremost, it involves evaluating your priorities when interacting with your children. This means looking deeper than your knee-jerk reactions or emotional responses. It means looking at your WHY. And this isn’t always as easy as 1-2-3. You need to figure out what your goal is in how you discipline, what you enforce, what you value and ultimately how you love. Are you willing to be 15 minutes later than late so you can explain to your children why honoring people’s time is important? Is your teenage daughter dressing modestly more important than her understanding how valuable her body is in God’s eyes? Are you willing to endure temporary hardships in favor of permanent solutions? Do you just want your children to follow rules or believe in the underlying principles behind the rules you set?

What comes to your mind when you think about the differences between managing and leading your children?

We’d love to hear from you! Comment below!

Right there with ya!

Niki from,

The Newlymoms

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Jesus loving, MAMAS OF TWO, Coffee downing, Entrepreneurs, BFFs. 

Hi, I'm Niki...
and I'm Christine

Together, we are the newlymoms!
A dynamic duo of BFF mamas living on opposite sides of the world, but coming together for one thing:

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