Tuesday morning’s Wall Street Journal (May 27) contained something you don’t see every day.
Front page of Section A: Anheuser CEO Fights for His Legacy . . . Busch Heir Still Seeks Father’s Approval
Here are some interesting comments August Busch IV was quoted making about his father, August Busch III, who he succeeded as Anheuser’s CEO —
- “I never, ever had a father-son relationship . . . . it’s purely business.”
- “His love and respect will be when I’m ultimately successful.”
- “I honestly do believe if I failed in my professional life, it would be much harder to ever gain his respect.”
Front Page of Section C: Son Poised to Rise at Macklowe . . . Father May Step Aside After Real-Estate Empire Avoids Collapse
In the Macklowe family’s case, son William is reported to be forcing his father to step down as chairman of the firm. Summarizing their relationship —
“He’s my father. I’m his son. Life goes on.”
What is or was your relationship with your father? How does it impact you as Leader?
Newspaper soundbites aside, I’ve learned that fathers affect who their sons and daughters become in powerful ways, whether for good or bad.
I recall having conversations with two different men, each accomplished Leaders, within a few days of one another. Each man recalled vividly the words of their fathers, who were both deceased.
One, in his late fifties, recalled his father saying to him, “You can do anything you want, but you won’t. You’re all talk.”
The other, late thirties, had heard, “You are the best.”
You might think one father’s words were a curse, the other a blessing. Interestingly, the Leader in his 30’s spoke of how his father’s words — You are the BEST– had actually driven him to think he HAD to be the best at everything he did. This became a burden of striving for something that would be impossible for any of us.
Some Leaders never heard any words from their fathers. That has an impact as well.
And some Leaders have received nothing but blessings from their fathers.
Why is this worth writing about?
Many different people shape us as Leaders. But the impact of those who brought us into this world, mysterious as it may be, tends to be more signficant than any other.
What do we do with this?
If you received blessing from your father, be intentional about passing it on to your sons and daughters. If you received something else, you have the opportunity to “break some chains” for your daughters and sons.
Either way, be aware of how the words given to you are helping or hurting you as a Leader. They’re impacting you somehow . . . as your “life goes on.”