Juggling parenting and work is never easy, particularly when you are working from home. Many of us think of it as an ‘either/ or’ situation. Either I am working or I am parenting. Yet how might it impact our mindset and the way we handle situations if we perceived this differently? What if our parenting has the potential to be the most significant training ground to develop the inter-personal competencies that are essential for business success.
How can Parenting positively impact soft skills in business? Here’s a great example, that you’ve probably already seen. Dr Clare Wenham is being interviewed on live BBC News TV by Christian Fraser about the developing insights regarding lockdown when her young daughter joins the conversation. Scarlett wants her mother’s attention about the serious job of positioning of her unicorn picture, ‘I’m just deciding where to put it – where Mummy wants it to go.’
You might choose to re-watch this snippet and notice all the work-related soft skills that Clare employs in these few moments, before reading my thoughts about observing the soft skills of Clare’s parenting, that also apply to every successful business interaction, whether it is with team members, service providers, clients or anyone else.
Here’s what I noticed:
- She remains self-contained
- She is pleasant and approachable to all concerned
- She gently sets a boundary where needed
- She skilfully pays attention to two entirely different agenda on hand
- She acknowledges and responds to their needs, and effectively gives required feedback
- She treats each person, no matter what their position, with kindness and respect
- She holds her composure, even when things could become stressful
- She creates win-win solutions for all concerned (including herself).
I also notice Christian’s warm and sensitive handling of the situation. And well done to BBC News, daring to stream to the world that our children are an integral part of our lives – that working at home means balancing these different needs. And this is a lovely example how Parenting can positively impact Soft Skills in Business. Every business leader needs to develop these competencies, both for themselves and for their team, because ultimately people do business with people they know, like and trust.
‘if your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.’
Parenting is the one job we undertake for which most of us have received little or no training. Even as a qualified and experienced teacher, it was only when I hit a sticky parenting patch that I started deeply exploring what children need from their parents in order to thrive. And what I discovered was that it was I – rather than my child – who experienced the greatest transformation!
Parenting well is not only a matter of intuition, it is a huge socio-emotional
commitment that requires insight and skills. Besides the positive impact upon our
children themselves, effective support for parents can save years of heart-ache and
stress, and is essential for the well-being of society.
The secret that most business leaders don’t realise is that one of the most significant ways to develop the soft skills of business is to develop your Parenting Wisdom. Learning how to navigate the ups and downs of relationships within the family is the perfect training ground to learn the art of team leadership. Whether you are dealing with strong emotions, rivalry issues, accommodating another person’s needs, building self -esteem; all these issues and many others have their counterpart in the work context. When you gain the insights to be the ‘captain of your ship’ who has a happy and contented ‘crew’ within your home, you will discover that these leadership talents will naturally transfer into your work context.
Successful parenting involves:
- deep listening
- conflict resolution
- problem-solving to create win-win
- nurturing self-esteem and resilience.
that are needed to create a great team and satisfied customers.