One of our pilars in the Center is the dimension of Responsible Leadership. Today is Father's Day and for us, in the Center, being a responsible leader goes far beyond being just a responsible executive leader - being a responsible father is also a key feature of responsible leadership.

We have decided to challenge Rui Diniz, CUF’s CEO, to share his thoughts on the matter with you. Here they go - I am sure you will enjoy them as much as we did!  

Nuno Moreira da Cruz, Executive Director at the Center for Responsible Business & Leadership


I was surprised when Nuno Moreira da Cruz invited me to write a text about Father’s Day for the Sunday newsletter of the Católica’s Center for Responsible Business & Leadership. After all, I don’t consider myself more qualified in comparison to anyone else to share my experience as a father. Especially in such a broad way and for so many people who might have more experience as parents than I do. However, after talking with Nuno and asking for my wife’s opinion… I decided to go ahead.

I’m going to share my experience as a father from a personal perspective, as a firsthand account, without ever suggesting that this is the best way or even a good practice — as this newsletter often encourages. This will be just a real example to describe the difficulties and joys that the absolutely extraordinary adventure of being a father entails.

Before I start talking about my experience, here’s a relevant biographical note: I’m married and I have five children aged between 20 and 13, three girls and two boys. I’m an economist by profession and I work at CUF.

I would like to start precisely from this coexistence between my family life and my professional life, to share some of my thoughts. These reflections belong to a father who often fails but who tries to do a better job every day:

  • Family and professional plans are not — as they are often seen — in contradiction or conflict. On the contrary, they reinforce each other. A positive family life as a father has been conducive to a better professional life, and the quality of my professional development is an important factor in my family life dynamics. They are, therefore, from my point of view, two dimensions that must be understood and addressed together, as they are integral parts of the reality that is our lives and shouldn’t be considered separately and even less so as being in conflict.
  • However, the relationship between these two aspects of our lives can’t be limited to this joint approach. We must go beyond that in the way we experience them. The values ​​and how we live, as parents and as professionals, must be consistent. It’s important to have a unified posture regarding attitudes, values, and relationships with others, living with authenticity in every moment of our lives. It’s not positive to approach our personal lives as parents with a set of values ​​that we then don’t embrace in our professional day-to-day lives. Or, on the contrary, it’s difficult to understand that one is extremely diligent and professional at work and less attentive at home, with our children and our family. It doesn’t make sense, since, in these matters, we won’t be able to justify or compensate what we fail to do in one dimension with what we do in the other.
  • The experience of being a father is a fundamental factor in our development as people and certainly also as professionals. I have learned a lot as a father, and this has made me a more complete person and also a more balanced professional. This is because the family, and the role of the father in that family, is a context of permanent learning for our lives in a community. Family life promotes the need for empathy, the ability to accept and benefit from others’ differences and each person’s characteristics, and the willingness to learn from everyone. The role of a father prepares us to lead by example, to instill hope in the future, to be demanding, to give tools and allow autonomy without failing to be present in each moment. Being a father teaches us to create a family spirit, with common goals and purposes, while respecting each one’s individuality. The family, and consequently being a father, is without a doubt a great learning experience for our lives as professionals and as leaders. But, above all, it’s a great joy and a source of individual growth.

Having reflected on these two important dimensions of our lives, I would like to point out three things that are relevant to me:

  • As a father, I have benefited a lot from also being a son. For this reason, on this Father’s Day, I cannot fail to mention my father from whom I learnt so much, throughout my life.
  • As a father, I have benefited from the company of my children, their lessons, their patience, their love. The father I am is the result of having them as children and I’m, therefore, very grateful.
  • As a father, I have benefited so much from being married to my wife, with whom I have been constantly sharing this journey. I greatly benefit from having her by my side.

Finally, being a father has a defining attribute with no parallel, that cannot be compared to anything else, that is truly unique: being a father implies an unconditional and absolutely gratuitous love for our children. This love does not depend on them, on what they do or what they are, but comes from within us and results, fundamentally, from our condition as a father. It’s a love that needs no retribution, that is rewarding, even without receiving anything in exchange. There is no professional project or anything else that resembles that. And that’s why being a father is so unique and extraordinary!

Have a great and impactful week!

Rui Diniz

This article refers to edition #182 of the "Have a Great and Impactful Week" Newsletter and covers SDG 16.
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