The first leaders we experienced were our parents and with Father’s Day being June 21st I wanted to take time to recognize my father and his leadership.


What leaders do and how do they do it? For those who read my blog you know that I have written before that leadership is a bond of trust, built by four practices:

  • Setting the example
  • Setting and enforcing the standard
  • Building and sustaining morale
  • Exhibiting physical and morale courage


Thanks, Dad, for executing those four practices. Here is a short recognition, thank you, and a sampling of examples that made an impact on me.


My Dad, the second of nine children grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He worked for a local butcher first, delivering meat using his bicycle, then as a butcher. He gave much of the money earned to his parents. In 1951 he enlisted in the Navy serving for four years on several ships in the Mediterranean as a boatswain’s mate. In 1955 he left the Navy to get married to Anna.


Moving his family to a small town in northern New Jersey, he worked multiple jobs to support his young family of four children. I am number two, with an older sister and two younger brothers. He did some construction and was a butcher for a few years before landing a position as technician in a high tech defense contracting company. There he worked for 37 years and built a reputation as an innovative hard worker who always got the job done.


I want to recognize and thank him for:

Setting the example: He served the country as a young man in the Navy. As a consummate do-it -yourselfer he demonstrated hard work and resourcefulness to improve our quality of life. Finishing our basement, adding a deck, remodeling portions of our house, building a garage, and teaching us to maintain the landscaping.


He volunteered at church, was a little league football coach, and supported us in our athletic endeavors. He was also an active member of the high school booster club.


Holidays always had us on the road to visit family or had us hosting an event. To be clear I am not giving him full credit on the hosting. Mom was the key player however; they were a team and a united front.


Setting and enforcing the standard: Not that we were all that happy about this trait, he had exacting standards on how the lawn was cut, cars were washed, and that we were in on time. We recollect as family the time we did not cut our grass, but did cut the neighbors. The neighbors paid us, what did he expect. The result was having to cut ours by hand. He did relent and let use the mower after a time period. We do believe Mom intervened.


Building and sustaining morale: He rarely missed a sporting event for any of us. He would go to work at four AM so he could attend our junior varsity football games in the fall that started at 3:00 in the afternoon. We had memorable annual vacations to the Jersey Shore, Disney World, Canada, & Cape Cod. We all learned to swim and spent a lot of time as a family at a local lake where we ultimately became life guards when we were old enough.


Exhibiting physical & moral courage: Teaching three boys how to swing a baseball bat can be hazardous. Participating in toboggan runs in the winter on the hill we nicknamed “Torture Hill” was even more dangerous, as was refereeing our hockey games. But, more importantly he taught us to do the right thing. Church was key part of our lives, we attended catholic elementary school, he forced us to correct wrongs that resulted from our actions, and trusted us to make the right choices. The frogman incident and throwing snowballs at cars rank way up there on the accountability scale. As teenagers we had the freedom we earned.


As with any leader he has had a profound impact on us. For me, at times I felt I fit the insurance commercial where the friends say “…ever since buying the house he is becoming more like his dad.” We have all followed his leadership and adopted many of his traits. Fortunate for me I have received his “hard work gene”.


He and Mom will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary and his 90 Birthday. Together they are enjoying a family of 4 children, 9 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.


Thanks, Dad, for the positive impact your love and leadership has made on our lives.