It is said that becoming a parent can get in the way of running a business; but for me the exact opposite is true. Being a parent has made me a better business leader.
That’s because the three most important skills of being a good parent are patience, empathy and deprioritising self; and these three skills are also invaluable when dealing with a team. I think it is fair to say I didn’t have much of any of them before I became a mother.
All children really want from their parents is to be seen, heard and understood, in addition to having clear boundaries in place. And that’s exactly what your employees want from you too.
If you are prepared to take the time to listen to someone and understand the situation from their perspective, rather than just making assumptions or thinking that one size fits all, then you will be a far better parent – and a much better leader.
Being a parent also makes you realise that everybody is motivated by different goals. My daughters have the same set of parents and yet what motivates each of them to do their homework or to try hard at school are completely different. That’s even more true for your employees, who are likely to come from a wide range of backgrounds. As a parent and as a leader it is important to understand that, otherwise you will never be able to motivate or enable someone to grow and commit themselves to success.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that leaders who are not parents can’t also learn these skills; it simply means we should start properly valuing the skills that parenting can teach us. Since becoming a parent I have seen a big difference in my leadership style, which both my team and I have benefitted from, growing further and faster than we would have done otherwise.