Leadership or giving in?

August 27th, 2011

Applying some of my objectives on this trip are proving to be a challenge! I  was determined to try to let the kids have choices about what we do but have found it very hard not to dictate certain matters.

We have now arrived in Annecy which I am pleased to report is absolutely fabulous. Thank you to all those who recommended this as a destination; I can now see why anyone who has been here before raves about it. Our accommodation is also fabulous. It is so much better than the last place it is difficult to believe and demonstrates even more how much of a rip off the apartment in Lake Como was. I can feel a letter of complaint coming on.

Annecy is clearly the right place for me to restart cycling. The attempt up a very steep mountain in Lake Como was brave but ill-judged! Much better here as there are lovely cycle paths with no cars and no steep gradients, i.e nice and flat. That said am very proud of how well I coped with  a 40km cycle ride. 

It was in relation to this cycle ride that my tendency to dictate what all will do at times came to the fore. My eldest son is happy to bask in the sun all day and work on his tan. I of course know what is best for him and consider that this should be interspersed with a bit of other activity from time to time. So my decision that we would all go on the cycle ride as a family was greeted with a fair bit of whingeing from a certain quarter. It was not until my husband suggested that my son be allowed to stay behind on his own if that was what he wanted, that I was forced to consider allowing him this choice. My dilemma; should I insist on family time together as this is what the trip is all about (for me at least) and that he does what is good for him or let him enjoy himself in his own way?

 What would a good leader do? After having considered and sought others views and taken these on board, it is the role of a good leader to formulate the strategy, communicate this effectively and gain “buy in” from those concerned.  From time to time this might mean imposing a decision on others. Following this train of thought, should I have insisted that my son join us?  

I am not entirely sure that these principles apply in a family situation where the parental instinct strongly influences our decisions;  we clearly know what is right for our children and hope that one day they will understand and agree that we were absolutely right after all!  Also,  looking at the  wider objective (that we all have fun) and taking into account that we have had a lot of family time together on this trip anyway,  do I need to impose my decision to achieve our overall objective?  Finally,  this may well be a situation where it is sensible to choose the right battles and accept that some are just not worth it. 

In any event the outcome here was that my son was left to work on his tan and we were all happy. Is that good strategic leadership or just giving in?

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