Fatherhood and Conversations

Fatherhood and Conversations

Wally Bock says that being a father, like being a boss, is all about conversations.

In his own life as both a leader and a father, he has seen the value and impact of communicating well with others.

Conversations with his children formed the foundation of his fathering. Wally talked with his kids a lot during their growing up years. They talked along the way, with Wally and his kids sharing about just about every topic imaginable including interests, attitudes, and values.

Wally sees the importance of both focused and unfocused conversations. Focused conversations are the ones with a specific message to convey. Unfocused conversations have no particular agenda, but they build relational trust. Dad — and bosses — need to incorporate both in order to make connections.

There is no substitute for communication; it’s crucial. And conversations have to be two-way.

“One of the most surprising things for me about being a dad,” Wally said, “is that my kids listened and watched… all the time.”

He discovered that one day when he overheard his son giving advice to a friend, using Wally’s own stories and examples.

“Your kids are paying attention. They may look like they’re not listening, but they are. What you do matters. What you say matters, too — but what you do really matters.

Communication becomes even more important in the midst of tough times, both in business and parenting relationships.

“You need to keep working at the relationship. When you’re in a pit, and you don’t know how it’s going to come out, the key is to keep working on it, keep talking it out.”

Create vital two-way conversations; talk about everything; talk a lot; talk through the hard times; use communication to build relational trust and strong connections: all of these are great lessons on fatherhood and leadership from Wally Bock.

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission. 

Filed As:  communication, fathers

About Becky Robinson

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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What People Are Saying

  • Great post Becky. This is an area I failed in. My kids and I talked a lot, but I didn’t let them be different early enough. We need to begin to respect our kids’ independence a bit earlier, not bending our rules, but understanding their perspective. My two are both grown, but I’m still learning to respect their independence and to talk without making judgments. Thanks for the great post.

  • Thank you, Becky, for a great interview and these two wonderful posts. There was huge benefit for me in the opportunity it created for me to reflect on fatherhood, my dad, and the kind of father I was. That’s led me back around to the idea that most important thing isn’t some technique or other. It’s just loving your kids and working so that plays out in the way you act with them.
    You did a wonderful job of capturing me and my memories and reflections. But I’m in that part of life where I know how it turned out. It’s really important to remember, as you noted in your last post, that when you’re in the middle of it all you don’t know how it will turn out and so you have to keep trying because you believe it will turn out well.
    Thanks for a wonderful experience.

  • If there is a difficult area in which to put all your leadership skills and ideas to the test, THAT IS PARENTHOOD! Fathers in particular have so much to get over, and paradigms are not shifting but going through a massive makeover! Leadership is an art and as Wally shows here, it is expressed beautifully in fatherhood. Thanks for your great post, Becky!

  • Great post. Thank you.
    I’ve heard that it’s relatively easy to be a father but much harder to be a dad. I think that’s because Dad’s talk openly, listen well, and take their roles very seriously. There is no time “away from the office” as a dad because the kids are always watching- as they should.
    In my experience this can be hard work, but it is good work if you can get it.
    And organizational leadership is the same way. Once you are in a leadership position, you are constantly being watched and evaluated. And meaningful conversations are critically important for the development of others- and yourself.

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