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Using the principles of parenting at work to become a great leader and create great leaders
- Read in 13 minutes
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- Contains 8 key ideas
Raising Leaders (2020) is a thoughtful primer on contemporary leadership. This guide lays out the surprising parallels between raising strong, independent children and cultivating successful, productive teams.
Key idea 1 of 8
Parenting and management share many of the same stresses.
It happens the same way every night. After a long, exhausting day, you crawl into bed to get some much-needed rest. As soon as you close your eyes, you’re out like a light. But it doesn’t last. Within an hour you hear your child crying in the next room. It’s time to get up and do some more parenting.
New parents find themselves in this situation all the time, and leadership expert Wendy Born was no different. After having her first child, she struggled to keep up with the challenges of raising a young one. She often felt lost, isolated, and overwhelmed.
The feeling was uncomfortable, but not completely new. After all, many novice managers feel the same way in the workplace.
The key message here is: Parenting and management share many of the same stresses.
Raising a child, especially in its early years, is no easy task. Children can be difficult, unpredictable, and temperamental. And any workplace manager knows that colleagues can share many of these traits. The only real difference is that parenting is more than a full-time job – once you clock in, you can never clock out. Given these twin pressures, it’s no wonder that so many people feel stressed out. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly one in eight people regularly experience high levels of psychological distress.
However, both family life and the professional realm can also be fulfilling and rewarding. It’s just a matter of approaching them in the right way – that is, with lots of empathy and compassion. When the Harvard Business Review studied management styles at 84 companies, it found that CEOs with high levels of compassion outperformed their less kind peers by nearly 500 percent.
Cultivating compassion requires three forms of sight: insight, plain sight, and foresight. Insight is the ability to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Plain sight is the capacity to determine what actions and conditions are actually under your control. And foresight is the wisdom of knowing your long-term goals and the true purpose of your work.
You can begin nurturing these qualities by making the time for regular moments of quiet reflection. Try carving out 15 minutes a day to calmly consider your actions, your goals, and how you can align the two. You may find this practice will help you stay centered at work and at home. In the next blink, we’ll look at some more similarities between these two areas of life.