Simple Tools for Effective Communication

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

Peter Drucker

Effective communication requires effective listening. You can’t have one without the other. Unfortunately for most of us, active listening skills don’t come naturally.

If you are like me, you like to be understood. You like it when people hear and understand your perspective on things. And you probably will find yourself defending your point of view when people challenge your position on important topics.

ONE-WAY COMMUNICATION

listen_up_and_develop_more_effective_communication_skillsWe are all accustomed to one-way communication where our objective is to be understood by those we are talking to. The problem with one-way communication is that there is typically no room for dialogue. It’s just two people talking at each other rather than to each other.

You see this play out in relationships and home and at work a lot. People can get caught up talking at each other, and it usually causes friction in the relationship. Usually both parties walk away from the conversation frustrated and are not as willing to engage in future conversations. After all…what’s the point! They won’t listen anyway!

TRY TO UNDERSTAND FIRST

As we work on our communication skills, it is important to realize that the failure to understand will result in a failure to be understood.

If we put more attention on what the person is trying to tell us, they will also be more inclined to hear our perspective as well. You will also discover that you will be able to unpack more of their thoughts and feelings when they know you truly care about what they have to say.

Remember what Proverbs 20:5 says, “Counsel in the heart of a man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

Using these simple tools for effective communication will help you draw out the hidden thoughts and feelings of those you communicate with.

  1. Questioning. Asking open-ended questions can be a powerful way to help the person you are talking to unpack more of their thoughts and feelings. You will be amazing with how effective a simple question can be in helping a person articulate how they really feel. Asking questions also communicates genuine interest in what they have to say, rather than being focused on what you want to say to the person.
  2. Encouraging. Sometimes people need to know that it’s safe to share how they really feel. Encouraging someone to be honest and open reiterates your genuine concern and interest in what they have to say.
  3. Paraphrasing. Paraphrasing their statements is a great way to make sure you are hearing their intended message rather than your interpreted message. Paraphrasing requires you to use their words and phrases as you recap what they just said. This allows them to clarify themselves if necessary and keeps both of you on the same page.
  4. Reflection of feeling. Reflecting the feeling of someone is a wonderful tool to engage and connect with someone. Imagine if someone just got bad news about a loved one and they are grieving. Acknowledging their feeling, and being present with their feeling at the time allows them to know you really care. Think of a time where you were extremely excited about something and you wanted to share it with someone, but they seemed uninterested. Didn’t it make you feel disconnected from that person? Reflecting the persons feelings, whether they are happy or sad, will allow you to engage in an effective way.
  5. Summarize. At the conclusion of your conversation it’s always a great idea summarize what you believe was said. Much like paraphrasing during the conversation, summarizing allows you to share what you understood, and for them to give you more clarity in case you misunderstood something.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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5 Ways to Stop Tuning People Out

“There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.”

Simon Sinek

Not paying attention to the person talking to us is something we have all been guilty of. Thinking of the perfect response, and waiting for our turn to share our witty reply is a common communication mistake for most people.

It’s so bad that we tend to disregard the final words of what someone is telling us because we assume that we already know what they are going to say.

FOCUS

screen-shotRecently, while I was at a coaching training for the work I do with the NFL my instructor, Dr. Taunya Tinsley, shared with my group a simple but easy reminder to help me not only pay attention, but be more of an active listener by engaging in what they are saying to me.

She simply said that we need to F.O.C.U.S. Though it sounds simple, it’s amazing how challenging it can be to simply focus on not just what is being said, but to be able to discover what isn’t being said.

Mastering the skill of listening is becoming more and more challenging today. Especially when considering the fact that our attention span is getting shorter and shorter. We are getting used to people speaking in sound bites, or in 140 characters or less. Even videos that are longer that 2 minutes are becoming more challenging to stay engaged with.

If you want to be a better leader, spouse, parent, or mentor, you will need to exercise your listening skills by staying engaged during conversations.

Here are 5 ways to F.O.C.U.S. to keep you engaged during your conversations from Dr. Tinsley.

  1. Free your mind; block out other thoughts. Removing distractions, and not allowing your mind to drift during conversations is vitally important. Make sure both of you are not preoccupied with work or other things so you can give them your undivided attention.
  2. Observe and make eye contact. More is being said than just the words that they are saying. A person’s eyes can say a lot. Look to see if their eyes are matching the emotion of what they are saying. If not, it gives you an opportunity to engage what they are really feeling.
  3. Comment on what you heard by paraphrasing or repeating back what was said. Paraphrasing is a great way for you to check-in throughout the conversation to make sure you understand what they are sharing with you. It also gives them a chance to clarify what they are saying during the conversation.
  4. Uncover facts and feelings. Asking additional questions, or acknowledging the feelings and emotions that they are sharing is a great way to get people to open up even more. There is always more to the story that can be shared, and your questions or reflective statements are great ways to show you are listening and that you care.
  5. Summarize and gain agreement. Summarizing the conversation shows that you listened the entire time. It also gives you an opportunity to clarify what they want and need from you as a result of the conversation.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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5 Keys to Mentoring Effectively

“A mentor is not someone who gives you advice. A mentor is someone whose advice you follow.”

Aeneus Williams

Being a mentor is one of the most unique and beneficial relationships one can have. It’s unique because it requires both individuals to willing to accept their role as the mentor or mentee. This is not something that can be forced. Rather, it is a relationship built on the mutual need to give and receive advice and support.

Even though most people will agree that there is value in being or mentor or having a mentor, most people do not have an intentional relationship with a mentor!

personal-mentorWe all admit that we need help, and don’t want to allow other people rear lights be our headlights. But in reality, most people do not make themselves vulnerable enough to admit that they need a mentor. And even worse, people tend to devalue their life experiences and shy away from being a mentor to other people.

I love what the late Dr. Myles Munroe said, “Success without a successor is failure.” What good is knowledge if it is not shared with future generations? What good is success if it can’t be replicated? Who will be able to start their life journey based on the knowledge of yours?

Here are 5 Keys to Mentoring Effectively to help you start your mentoring journey.

  1. Empathy/empathetic understanding. One of the most effective was to establish trust, and allow people to open up to you is to show empathy. Empathy is simply the ability to understand and share the feeling of others. This does not mean that you have had to have the exact same experience as the person you mentor. But it does mean that you can relate to the feelings that they are expressing. Acknowledging their feelings, and reflecting on a time where you felt a similar emotion is a great first step in establishing trust.
  2. High positive expectations. Everyone needs a coach. Everyone needs someone who can call greatness out of someone, and hold them to a higher standard. A great mentor will have the capacity to see the greatness that is inside their mentee and not allow them to settle for anything less than accomplishing the goals they have mutually established.
  3. Advocacy. Knowing that someone believes in you, and will go the extra mile to support you is something that is rare these days. Having a support system of people who are on your side no matter what is something that provides fuel to any relationship. Especially to the person you are mentoring!
  4. 12-months or longer and frequent positive contact. Consistency and commitment tend to be to the biggest issue with mentors. Being a mentor requires being intentional in the relationships that you spend time with, and with assessing what is important to you. Remember, a person is a mentor because that’s who they already are, not because its what they are trying to do. The mentoring relationship should be a natural extension of who you already are.
  5. Relationships focus on strengths rather than deficits. The last key of focusing on strengths rather than deficits can be challenging. It can be easy to see what’s wrong, and what to address the issues that need to be developed in a person. But if you truly want to be a transformational mentor, focus on the strengths of the person and what they are doing right. By focusing on their strength you reinforce their self-esteem and belief in their potential. Remember what Proverbs 18:16 says, “A man’s gift will make room for him, and bring him before great men.” Your mentees gift and strengths will open doors for them. Therefore, you should focus on developing their strengths, rather than being frustrated with their weakness.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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Easy Questions to Help People Open Up

“A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.”

Proverbs 20:5

Mastering the skill of not just listening, but also asking questions that draw out the thoughts, feelings, and concerns of people will allow you to have more influence in the lives of those you love and lead.

The level of open and honest dialogue in your relationships is an indicator of your relational health. The more people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings, the more healthy your relationships will be at home or at work.

Knowing what you want to do is one thing. Having the tools to do it effectively is something else.

Teenager with parent

Remember, these questions will only be effective if you are intentionally creating an atmosphere that is safe and non-threatening for them to share. You may need to model vulnerability by opening up first, in order for them to feel comfortable being more transparent with you.

Opening up, and sharing your feelings may not feel natural for you or the person you are talking to. Children may feel comfortable wanted to share everything about their day and how they are feeling, but as we grow older, we learn to withhold our thoughts and feelings, and even censer them.

As a result, most people need to know it’s ok to be a child-like again by opening up and sharing what really on their mind.

Here are a few statements and questions to help you give people permission to share what they really feel, and to allow you to get people to open up.

  • “Tell me more.”
  • “What is that like for you?”
  • “How did you feel when that happened?”
  • “How did you handle it?”
  • “Could you give me an example?”
  • “It sounds like it was a difficult time for you.”
  • “What does this all mean to you?”
  • ‘Could you tell me generally what is going on?
  • “This is what I hear you saying…does that fit for you?”
  • “You sound like you feel…? Go on.”
  • “How do you feel as you talk about it now?”
  • “Right now you seem…”
  • “Let’s see if I can put together what you are saying.”
  • “How (why) is that important to you?’
  • “What are some of the reasons you think that happened?”
  • “I understand.”

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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The Best Counseling Skills for Communication

“A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.”

Proverbs 20:5

How many times have you tried to communicate to someone about something important, only to have the conversation go off on tangents and the real issue is never addressed? This makes communication extremely difficult.

I’ve had countless conversations that started off on track, but as soon as I brought up the issues that I wanted to confront, the person got defensive and would bring up other issues. After a while, we would find ourselves talking about everything but the reason why the conversation started in the first place, and the issue is still unresolved!

This is a common issue that happens in communication. People will defend themselves or their points of view when they feel attacked or confronted.

So how can you address the important issues that need to be confronted, and bring about resolution without it turning into an argument?

rehabilitation-counselorCounselors have been using a simple technique that allows them to influence the conversation, and focus the communication around the issues that need to be addressed.

This approach also allows you to state the facts of what you’ve observed rather than your opinion and feelings, which is instrumental in being able to guide the conversation effectively.

Using ‘I” Statements is a simple technique that allows you to state your observations and focus on the facts of what’s happening. It is an effective tool when you want to deal with something that the other person may be prone to deflect from talking about the topic.

Statements like:

  • “I notice that you smile each time you talk about something sad.”
  • “I believe you just contradicted what you said earlier when you were talking.”
  • “I’ve heard you say that you can’t wait to get here, but you are always late.”

Using “I” statements is a great way to address a topic in a way that is less confrontational because you are referring to yourself, and not them. Even though you are referring to something that said, or did.

Here are a few “I” statements that can help you state facts and keep the conversation focused on the issues that need to be addressed.

  • I’ve noticed…
  • I observed …
  • When I saw …
  • I think that _________ indicates that …
  • I discovered …
  • I get the sense that …
  • I’m worried about …
  • I need to discuss …
  • I want to hear what you have to say about …

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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How to Handle the Silent Treatment

“A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.”

Proverbs 20:5

The silent treatment is something we’ve all experienced. It doesn’t matter if it your spouse, your child, or an employee. People have used this approach when they are dealing with how they feel about a situation.

Learning how to deal with people with they are giving you the silent treatment can be the difference between bringing about resolution to an issue, or the silence driving a wedge in the relationship and making things more difficult.

The first thing to be mindful of when a person is giving you the silent treatment is to see if they need time to cool off before talking. One of the biggest mistakes people make when dealing with confrontation, is to try to make someone talk before they are emotionally ready to have a conversation.

If a person says they need time to calm down, or they are angry and trying not to say or do something that they will regret, please honor their request. Give them the space they need to calm down. But the time needed to calm down is not an excuse to not address the issue. Ask for the opportunity to continue the conversation when they are ready.

For some people, the silent treatment is just that. For others, they may resort to a range of behaviors that detract from being able to address the issues at hand. The silence treatment can range in reactions from:

  • silence,
  • incessant talking,
  • slow to offer a response,
  • lack of interest,
  • anger, pessimism and cynicism,
  • blaming and making excuses,
  • and violence

Here are a few ways to handle silence or little communication.

  • Ask open-ended questions to get more of an explanation from them. Statements like, “Tell me more about that…” Asking open-ended questions gives people a chance to slowly open up, which gives you a chance to hear what they are really thinking and feeling.
  • Do not be afraid of silence. Count to 20 before you talk again. A great statement could be, “I’m not sure what your silence means. Tell me what you’re thinking.” Dealing with silence is not easy. But realize that just because they may not be saying anything, it doesn't mean they are not thinking or feeling anything. Give them the space they need to share knowing you are there to listen and support them.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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Key Ingredients to Credibility

“I think credibility, irrespective of what you do, if you are in public life, then it is important.”

Rahul Dravid

It’s impossible to be an effective leader, or have a happy relationship if you aren’t seen as credible. Credibility is the filter that we use to determine if the person or information given to us is reliable.

Out of the countless stories that are leaked on the Internet we tend to rely on the credible news sources (ABC News, CNN, Fox News, etc.) in order to determine if the story is real or not. Even though the data may be accurate, if the source of the report isn’t credible we tend to not trust the story.

nfl-draft-football-c046fda5b7fb453aLawyers understand this during trials. They will question the credibility of the person based on their past to taint the validity of their testimony. Even if the person was an eyewitness to the incident, the credibility of the witness will either support the case, or hinder it.

The reality is that we all have to deal with our credibility at work and at home. Our past either makes it easy for people to trust us, or it can be an obstacle that makes it more difficult.

Learning how to rebuild credibility when we have made mistakes is the key to effective leadership. Not understanding how our past actions or decisions impact our leadership or relationships is a mistake too many people make today.

Here are a few ways to assess your credibility with others.

  • Integrity: Are you congruent? Integrity includes honesty, telling the truth, and leaving the right impression. When a person has a track record of either not telling the truth, or consistently misleading people, it makes it almost impossible to be seen as credible. It’s important to acknowledge the impact of the integrity issues of the past, and begin to rebuild trust daily by being consistently honest.
  • Intent: What’s your agenda? Isn’t it interesting how skeptical people are? People who have been disappointed in the past will try to not get burned again. Intent is about your motive, agenda, and behavior. If people question your intent, the most important thing to remember is to be patient, consistent, and transparent. The more you show you are focused on serving, loving, and leading by putting other’s needs ahead of your own, the more receptive they will be over time to see you as credible.
  • Capabilities: Are you relevant? Credibility also incorporates your talents, skills, knowledge, capacities, and abilities that allow us to perform or give advice. People always look to see if you have knowledge or experience in the area as a form of validation. Do people see you as an expert, or knowledgeable in the area you are trying to support? A lack of history or success in an area will cause people to hesitate in trusting your insight on the topic. Make sure you aren’t just sharing accurate information, but you also have demonstrated the skills and capabilities to be a trusted source.
  • Results: What’s your track record? Could you imagine listening to Johnny Manziel talk about leadership and decision-making? How about listening to Lance Armstrong discuss the importance of integrity in athletics? Of course not! A persons track record is their report card. Your report card is either making your voice loud in the ears of those you lead, or it is operating like a muzzle and making it hard for people to hear what you are saying. Be mindful of your past, and if you need to address something that you haven’t be successful in, make sure you acknowledge it, and share what you learned from the mistake.

You don’t have to be perfect to be credible. But you do need to acknowledge your imperfections to have influence!

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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3 Ways to Win the War on Fatherhood

“Champions aren’t those that make extraordinary plays that win. Champions are those that make ordinary plays more consistently than everyone else.”

Chuck Knoll

Let’s face it, family and fatherhood proves to be one of the greatest challenges, and opportunities in a man’s life. Research has proven that a loving nurturing father improves the outcomes for children, families, and communities.

And yet, today in the U.S. over 40% of children are born to an unwed mother. If you thought that stat was alarming, then you will be shocked to know that over 72% of African-American children are born to an unwed mother in the U.S. today!

These statistics aren’t just numbers. They represent our sons and daughters who are faced with the challenge of navigating life without a coach. The job we do as fathers has a direct impact on our society today. Much of the societal issues that we see plaguing our communities today can be traced to a lack of fathering.

unnamedRecently, I had a chance to speak to a group of inner city youth and police officers in Baltimore as a part of a reconciliation effort hosted by my good friend and former NFL player, Steve Fitzhugh.

While there I had a chance to talk to the kids about not just setting goals, but destroying them! As the day went on a variety of questions came up about goals, and relationships. I heard some shocking goals from the kids as we shared. Some hoped to live to 21 because most of their peers die at an early age. While others thought it was unheard of to be happy with one woman for life. They had never seen an example of a marriage where people were happy 17 years later!

Our presence as men, or lack thereof is making an impact on the expectations of the generation following us. We have an opportunity to give our children hope, and the tools to live their God-given dreams.

Being a great dad is not about doing great things. It is about being great at doing the right things.

Here are 3 ways to win the war on fatherhood.

  1. Understand the father wound. The father wound can exist even if the father is present in the home, but is spiritually or emotionally distant. From ages 0-7, research has shown that mother’s provide the knowledge that a child is loved. During that same time frame, research has shown that father’s provide the knowledge that a child MATTERS! Everything we do, and don’t do makes an impact on whether or not they understand how valuable they are, which builds their self-esteem.
  2. Engage and love ALL of me. In business, Ken Blanchard has reported that 85% of behavior is learned from direct supervisors. Think about that for a second. Think of the influence that your supervisor has had on developing your work habits. Now think about the habits that were formed as a result of your fathers’ engagement. As you engage, make sure you remember to let the children know that nothing can separate them from your love. Remind them that there is nothing they can do that will have you love them any less. There may be things you have to work through. But you are always willing to do it with them. In fact, life won’t be right without them in your life.
  3. Be transcendent. Transcendent simply means to exceed usual limits. Regardless of the current limitations of your past or current situation, remember that your influence extends beyond any current limitations. You voice carries weight, and someone is longing to hear your voice. Simply put, your voice is big in your children’s ears. Make sure you maximize the opportunity to influence!

Remember, our children are making decisions about their life based on their perception of ours. Never underestimate the power of your presence in the lives of children around you.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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How to Increase Your Influence with Your Children

“Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent.”

Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo)

Influence is something every leader desires to have. It doesn’t matter whether you are a father or mother, a coach or mentor, or a CEO or a manager. It’s impossible for you to be effective without influence.

I recently had a conversation with a dad who is separated from his children due to divorce, who loves his children deeply, but can sense a strain in the relationship sense he no longer lives in the home.

1924041_1748497165373363_2939236999097137925_nI could hear the desperation in his voice as he told me about his situation. Things didn’t work out in his marriage, and he was forced to move to a different state for work. The distance has put a strain on relationship because he can’t see them as frequently as he would like.

To make things worse, they are growing up quickly, and he feels pressure to try to establish and build a positive influence on his children.

I’m sure you can relate to the pressure and desire of wanting to have a positive impact on those you love and lead. You want your voice to carry weight, and resonate when you speak. You want to know they honor you and respect your role in their life.

Here are 4 things you must be willing to sacrifice do to build influence with people.

  1. Time. If you really want to increase your influence with your children, the first question to ask yourself is, “How much time do I spend with them?” I understand life is busy, and you have to work and do other things. But if influence is really important, when is the last time you scheduled to do something that was important for them, and turned down something that was important for you? When your children see you at their game, school lunch, or activity knowing that you were supposed to be somewhere else, you let them know how important they really are to you.
  2. Money/Something of value. We all understand the reality that money talks. Now, don’t get this blown out of proportion. You can’t buy someone’s love, and money does not replace you spending quality time. But it never hurts to do things with your children that they love to do. Whether it bowling, or the movies, it could be as simple as a RebBox movie night and pizza. Actually spending money on your child let’s them know they are more valuable than the money you earn.
  3. Ego. You must remember that what you want is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what your child wants, and winning their heart and respect. Are you willing to put your ego aside to connect with what you child is feeling right now? Are you willing to set aside your feelings, to truly listen for the emotions that your child is expressing verbally and nonverbally? Setting aside your ego, means setting aside your agenda and putting their needs ahead of your own.
  4. Habits. The last thing to do to build influence with your children is assess which of your habits need to be changed in order to engage your children more effectively? Do you have a habit of listen with eye contact? Do you have a habit of calling and checking in and only asking them about their day, and not asking them for anything? The need to gain influence occurred as a result of habits that have been developed over time. Those habits need to be identified and changed if you really want to see growth in your relationships.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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What It Takes to Win in Your Profession AND Your Parenting

Fatherhood Tips from Tony Stewart, Former NFL Tight End, Nonprofit Leader and Motivational Speaker

About Tony

Family Life: Married (12 years) with four kids, ages 4, 6, 8 and 10. Three boys, one girl.

NFL Career: Former tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders

What He’s Doing Now: Founded and leads a nonprofit called Beyond the Locker, which teaches life skills and self discovery to youth and athletes through unique sports experiences.


Tony Stewart was born in Germany and raised outside of Philadelphia, PA. As the son of a military officer, he learned the virtues of hard work, preparation and perseverance at a young age. These traits served him well during a nine-year NFL career. They have been just as handy in his post-football life as well.

Tony now runs a nonprofit called Beyond the Locker, which teaches life skills and self-discovery to youth and athletes through unique sports experiences. He is also a sought-after motivational speaker, sharing advice and best practices for achieving success in high-stress situations and doing what it takes to be a true professional.

“Be prepared. Be responsible. And seize the right opportunities when they come,” he says. “That’s what being a pro means.”

As it turns out, the keys to developing into an all-pro hold true whether you’re an NFL athlete, a VIP business executive or a dad.

The M4:6 team recently caught up with Tony to get his advice for fathers who want to do more, based on his experiences with youth and his approach with his own family. Here’s what he had to say…

Find Balance and Seek Adventure    

When Tony isn’t busy helping people find their pathway to success, he’s likely flipping pancakes and planning the next Stewart family adventure with his wife and four children.

Tony and his family strive for a balance between daily responsibility and adventure. They make sure to spend time together exploring and breaking the daily routine. Your next great adventure doesn’t require grandiose planning though. You can keep it small, like taking a hike at a local park, or a day trip to experience something new outside your community. The important thing, Tony says, is the act of being adventurous and creating opportunities to bond as a family.

Get to Know What Makes Kids Tick

Tony has worked with youth across all demographics, including juvenile hall residents, low-income communities and high-performing schools. No matter where he travels, there are three common characteristics he sees in the kids he serves.

  1. All kids want to be heard. They want someone to show them attention and be genuinely interested in what they have to say.
  1. No matter what they’ve been through, on the inside there is still a kid that wants to laugh and play and have fun. It doesn’t matter what responsibilities they’ve had to take on, what tragedies they’ve had to overcome or what specific circumstance they are in.
  1. They want to be challenged. Too many parents, teachers and other authority figures forget that, or are afraid to really challenge their children. But kids want it, and they respond well to it.

Understanding these three characteristics can help you more effectively engage your kids on a regular basis in a way that builds bridges and mends fences.

Understand What It Takes to Win

Being a father is a lot like being a head football coach, Tony says. A head coach is ultimately responsible for getting wins, but achieving success requires lots of different jobs to be done. The head coach has to motivate the team, help all the players understand their roles and set each player up for success. He has to set the vision, course and direction for the team. He has to ensure a positive pulse for the team in the locker room and on the field. As a dad, you have a lot of things to consider. Luckily, you can take heart in Tony’s fourth and final tip.

 

You Don’t Know It All, and That’s Ok.

According to Tony, being a father doesn’t mean you have all the answers. You need to be humble enough to seek counsel when you need help. You are going to make mistakes. Fatherhood, he says, is about being present and authentic.

“A lot of dads beat themselves up, and they feel like they aren’t doing enough,” Tony says. “You shouldn’t compare yourself to others, or expect yourself to be perfect. What’s most important is that you make the time you have with your children count by really being attentive and intentional with every moment.”