Leadership Qualities I Learned from My Wife and Kids

Alex Matjanec CEO


Nine months ago, my wife and I were blessed with fraternal twin boys, Anders and Leo. Being in the client services business I’ve become accustomed to working with different people and personalities on a daily basis. This experience has proven vital in learning how to work with Anders and Leo’s very dynamic and very different personalities, and I have found it to be both challenging and rewarding. I’m inspired by watching my wife with them and seeing how she interacts with our sons has been an educational experience for me. She is a true leader in many ways, and that is often on stage in our home. Sure there are the obvious ones such as Patience and Empathy but I found three approaches in particular enlightening and effective. 

Tone of Voice & A Smile: As a leader, it is easy to be matter of fact and direct. Your tone can almost feel like you are pointing a finger, though, and no one likes to be pointed at. With my sons this won’t work. Observing my wife, I have learned that sometimes it’s not what you’re saying but how you say it. She works hard to make sure that she always has a smile on and positive tone in her voice. This approach usually elicits a more enjoyable, desired and loving reaction.

Resourcefulness: Like lots of kids, my boys get bored very easily and need constant stimulation. At any moment their needs will change, similar to many clients who are adapting to immediate market shifts, social trends and global demands. This requires me to be agile, nimble and creative in keeping them engaged. The key takeaway for me is being flexible and realizing that as things are constantly changing, your approach needs to be able to bend and flex with these changes so the impact isn’t as harsh. Jason Fried recently spoke to this when it comes to clients and revenue. Specifically, he spoke about the need of avoiding a situation where a single client generates all your revenue and instead having many clients that pay you similar amounts. It allows you to work the same and equally for everyone and if they leave, your risk is manageable.

Consistency: As a parent, the amplification of keeping calm and things in order when you’re out numbered can be extremely difficult. To manage this, my wife is consistent with her behavior, tone and overall approach. You hear about the boss that is mercurial or too emotional and as an employee that can be challenging to deal with because you’re afraid to talk to them not knowing what you’re going to be getting. A leader that is consistent and approachable will be seen as more reliable and prepared for any situation thrown at them. 

I have personally adopted these as I continue to improve my own abilities as a leader. They seem simple but aren’t and when done right, the results are tremendous. What I love most about these skills is how I came to recognize them: in less than nine months, my growing family is already teaching me new things and impacting my business in the process. 

Hi! I’m Alex, a seven-year veteran entrepreneur who has recently become a first time CEO. I’ve made it my goal in 2017 to share my experiences in this new role. I look forward to your feedback and sharing this experience with you.

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