The Family Dinner Table’s Influence on Leaders

Who would have thought the family dinner table shapes leaders’ abilities to influence?

A microcosm of family life repeated over days, weeks, months and years as we grow up has significant influence on how we are in groups. Whether we converse easily, disagree without offending others, remain silent or dominate, one likely influence is earlier experiences and habits of family dinner time.

Last week, I was working with a group of leaders discussing turning points in their careers. One leader shared a moment of boldness early in her career, fearlessly disagreeing in a leadership team– and she was listened to.

I asked, “Where did you learn that?”

“Each evening meal, my family would discuss what was going on in our lives, and as I grew up, we debated current social issues,” she explained. “So, it comes naturally to me.”

I sensed intrigue in the group. I directed, “Step forward if you had dinner table conversation in your family.”

Six of the eight stepped forward, and looked at one another in recognition. I invited the two who hadn’t stepped forward to share their experience. Both had experienced silence at the meal table. No one was to speak during the meal.

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This was familiar to me. With my own upbringing, we were silent at the table. My Dad would come home from work and want quiet. I could barely sustain this, and would burst out laughing. I would be sent to my room without my dinner. My mother would bring me some something later in the evening.

Conversing and participating in groups was something I had to learn as an adult.

What family settings are you creating for your children that help them to lead and interact in groups? Click To Tweet

Early family dynamics either help or hinder a leader’s capacity to lead and participate in groups. Either way, I can help you.

If you want to learn how to lead and be a powerful positive influence in groups, contact me.

What family settings are you creating for your children that help them to lead and interact in groups?

© Diana Jones

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