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Parents are a fantastic resource in working life!
Do you feel a bit unease when you think about the first day at work after a longer or shorter parental leave? Do you feel as if you can’t compete with your colleagues without kids who can dedicate all their effort on the career? Then you should read this hub for boosting your self- confident!
Or if you are an employer that is looking for someone with great leadership qualities and stress resistance? Then you must read this too!
To be a parent is the world’s best management course ever! And yet parents with kids or pregnant employees are being looked upon like they are or would be a burden to many companies and working places. That is so wrong and it really should be the other way around; they should be seen as a great asset to the company or at every working place. Because they really are an asset! Read on and you will understand how I mean!
What features are characteristic for a good manager?
A good manager should have at least the following features:
- Ability to improvise
- Pedagogical and ability to express in a clear way
- Responsiveness and empathy
- Ability to Prioritize
- Delegation ability
- Great patience
- Stress resistance
- Conflict management skills
- Negotiation skills
This is just some of the skills that a parent develops when he/she take care of their kids. The more kids they have – the better manager they will be! And as an employer you will also know that you can count on this employee to be resistant and you also know that he/she is able to perform even without enough sleep! Because that is what parents do, they perform even if they haven’t slept a whole night in a long time!
To take care of small children is never going to be routine. Fact is, it can be hard to even plan the most basic shores during a day. Sometimes it can be difficult to even go to the toilet alone without the kids. As a parent you become the master on flexibility and you can adapt to all sorts of events. This will be a great asset in your work because you now know that you can master every unknown event.
Children want to learn new things and they do this through playing. This means that most children are constantly on the move and on their way to new things. As a parent it is your job to provide your child with new suitable challenges and with new tools. This demands great creativity and as a parent you will create toys and games that haven’t been heard of before! Great flexibility also demands great creativity and as a parent you will need both! At work you can use this skill to solve almost any problem that arise!
Ability to improvise
A day with small children isn’t easy to plan in detail. You can’t be prepared for all those events that take place around children. They have their mind of their own and many times one can be totally stunned over what they can achieve and the ideas they can come up with. As a parent you have to be good at quickly get a grip over unexpected situations and improvise according to the changes. And you do this over and over again, day and night!
Since you already are used to improvise under hard conditions your work will be an easy task because here you can delegate some problems to someone else or get advice from someone else and another thing; they are adults!
Pedagogical and ability to be clear
When talking to a child you can’t be unclear or vague. If you want them to understand and do as you say you have to be very clear and also very pedagogic. During your child’s/children’s childhood you will also have great practice in doing this and you will have to do it with both angry and tired children which demands for even better skills! This will be a great skill at work when you give someone instructions and assign them to a task.
Responsiveness and empathy
There is many things going on in human communication and it is even more difficult to interpret children’s communication because they do not have their language fully develop. And sometimes they don’t have the time to tell you either since they are occupied with their much more important play or exploration of new things. So as a parent you will be very good at observing and understanding the unsaid or unspoken words. You will also develop your empathy when you are around children. Kids are emotional and they need you in a way no one has needed you before. The love for a child is something very special and this will increase your empathy and sensitivity. A good manager must have empathy and also be able to sense when something isn’t right or notice when someone is on the wrong place. With your great practice in this area you will be prepared!
To be a stay home mom or dad means that you must be very efficient in order to get the needed shores done. You must tidy up, go shopping, cook dinner, wash laundry and all other necessary shores and you must do this at the same time that you have an eye on your children, at the same time you are pedagogic, empathic, responsive, improvising, creative and with flexible. No employer can ask for more! That is multitasking at high level!
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Ability to prioritize
Since it is hard to manage all things that need to be done you will be forced to prioritize as a parent to small children! There is no way you can keep up all the things you did before you had children. So there goes a good part of your former life in the first months of your life as a parent. When the children are sick you will have to prioritize so hard that only the most essential things will be done. And you will be able to do this under a lot of pressure and without proper sleep. This will be very good skills to have in your work.
With age the children will be able to do more and more things for them self. They can even help out in the daily shores. If you have more than one kid they will have to help out both with picking up toys and clothes, set the table, get dressed and helping their siblings. The more children the greater delegation skill! A good leader knows that he/she can’t do everything!
To be a parent is the most difficult task you do as a human. You will find that from the moment they are born; they come first and your needs and wishes come in second place. You will also learn that bringing up a child takes time. They learn in their own pace, and if they don’t want to do something it will go even slower. So when your kids are grown ups you will be the master of patience! No working problem can compete with the patience needed as a parent because you normally work only 8 hours a day but as a parent you are on top of it all day long. And you can’t quit the job either! This means that you are very capable as a patient leader!
As a parent you are constantly tested. Even if many days are like heaven many of them are not. To try to force a child to do something faster or better will result in the opposite. So even if you for example are late to a doctor’s appointment and one of your children is running around with no intention to put on his/hers clothes and the other is taking of the clothes you just put on, you being stressed will only result in that it will take even longer. And it is even worse when the children are sick or ill. You will have to function even if you don’t get enough sleep or have any time for your self. And as the years go you will be so used to do several things at the same time. After that training a stressful work will be no match for you!
Conflict management skills
If you have many children you will become a master of solving conflicts because you do it all the time at the same time as you do other things. And if you have only one kid you will be able to practice this skill as soon as your child brings some friends over to your house.
You will have to show all your flexibility, creativity and sometimes be very clear and make decisions that aren’t always popular. At work you will be dealing with grown ups, and hopefully they do not hit each other, or bang something in each others head or screams at each other! It will go like clockwork!
You will be able to practice this also with small children. At first it can be to give the child something allowed instead of something dangerous they have grabbed or something they are not allowed to do like touching the TV remote. They will easy let go of the object they already have if the thing you give them is interesting enough or better then the thing they are enjoying. So there is your first challenge. You must know how to negotiate in a way that all ends up like a winner. When your children get a little bit older you will have to refine your skill even further because now it isn’t so simple as to replace objects. Now you will have to talk to them and sometimes you will have to give after a bit in order to get what you want!
This negotiation practice will be very valuable as manager or at work in a negotiation with your manager. You will be brilliant!
So now that you know what skills you have you must shake of that feeling of not being up to date with all news. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know the latest news or the events that have happened at work recently or not feel so updated on the latest development in your area. You have gained something much more valuable that can’t be learned on a management course no matter how expensive it is. The updating will be accomplished in no time. I noticed when I came back after my parental leave there wasn’t so much that had happened that really mattered to my work. It was quit easy to catch up, so no worries, you will do just fine!
And the upper course in management occurs when you are a working parent to children of all ages. It is a constant learning and the problems will vary with the age of your children. This is now your skills will be tested to the absolute limit and you will be the masters of master of management and multitasking. So you see; You must connect your competence as a parent with your working skills. Make sure to mention them during recruitment and salary negotiation!
So, after a parental leave or if you are working and are a parent; you should straighten up and stand tall, feel boosted with self-esteem and go to your boss and say;
"I have been practicing on delegation, organisation, flexibility, negotiation, conflict solving during a long time, during day and night AND all was done under big stress and pressure AND without proper sleep so now I am entitled to a wage rise"!!
And to all employers: do not let this great resource slip away from you. Do not see parents or pregnant couples as a burden because they are the opposite! It will be an investment that pays off.