According to Dr. Stephen Diamond, Ph.D., the concept of the Inner Child is not literal, it is simply your original and true self, the person you were born to be before any hurt, damage, or negative experiences. Getting in touch with that inner child is an important step towards becoming a healthy adult because it allows you to be true to your core self. Becoming aware of and able to connect with that inner child will do wonders to who you are as a person and how powerful you can be as a leader.
In his article “Essential Secrets of Psychotherapy: The Inner Child” Dr. Stephen Diamond, Ph.D. says:
[blockquote]The fact is that the majority of so-called adults are not truly adults at all. We all get older. Anyone, with a little luck, can do that. But, psychologically speaking, this is not adulthood. True adulthood hinges on acknowledging, accepting, and taking responsibility for loving and parenting one’s own inner child.[/blockquote]
This becomes a very power tool for self-discovery and it’s very important that someone in a leadership position be completely in tune with “self” and who they really are as a healthy and whole person. If you cannot command yourself, then you are not fit to command others. This unresolved baggage becomes burdensome and prevents a leader from giving his/her full attention to facilitating an efficient team.
So what are the benefits of learning more about your inner child? Besides becoming a happier and healthy person, you will find that your team will respond to you better because of the following reasons:
- You are able to accept others: We are not born with prejudice and jaded behavior. Being in tune with our inner child allows you to be more accepting of the diversity around us. If we are able to accept each person on our team as a valued asset, they are more likely to respond with loyalty and hard work.
- You have more fun: Children love to have fun! I have a 4 year old daughter and her whole world revolves around games, activities, imagination, and play time. Having more fun is refreshing and it advocates a happier work environment and when your troops are happy they work harder.
- You are more authentic: Have you ever watched a small child dance to a song he/she likes? They are not self-conscious, not a care in the world because they are being exactly who they are. As a leader it’s important to be self-confident because it makes you more powerful. If you lack confidence your reports will notice and they will lack confidence in your guidance, and that makes for poor leadership.
- You will show more gratitude: Children are often grateful for the small things in life, being able to pretend play with a cardboard box is just as much fun as playing a computer game. They are simple and they are grateful for what they have. Show gratitude for your team and recognize that every small victory or effort is important.
Beyond the leadership benefits, you will find that being in touch with your inner child will make you feel a freedom and joy that you cannot reach without him or her. Embrace that little one inside of you and give him or her the praise and affection he/she needs to flourish and your inner child will show you a world of joy and wonder.