leadership

Parents in management: How kids can improve leadership skills

Kirsty Dunphey /

I’m at the end of a long day that has involved me setting myself the goal of writing 10 blog posts (I usually write one a week). This is post nine of 10. Fittingly, after such a prolifery of verbage I am, as just illustrated, making up words and lacking a little inspiration.

So I posted on my Facebook page, asking for suggestions, thoughts and random words.

My favourite response was this one:

“Should we be scared that parents with no sleep operate machinery, drive cars and raise children?”

I guess I found it appealing due to its comical nature, and the fact that I have a newborn and a toddler on the go at the moment – who, at times, like to tag team their wake ups.

We have four parents on our team at Elephant Property with five kids aged five or under – and despite the fact that we offer a flexible working week and hours many of us, at different times, operate the ‘machinery’ of our business when we are severely sleep deprived.

Are we at our best when sleep deprived? Probably not. Does our work suffer due to this? At times, I’m sure it has. But probably not more than the 20-something who’s had a big night out on the town the previous evening or the passionate hobbyist who’s been pursuing an out of work passion until 3am.

In short, we all have days where we’re not at 100%. But there are certain advantages to having parents (well rested or not) on your team.

If they have kids who are toddlers or older they practice negotiation on a daily basis.

If they have multiple kids, or have ever tried to complete even the simplest of tasks with one demanding child, they know how to split their attention when it’s required.

If they’ve raised well-behaved children, they’ve had first-hand experience of providing discipline and coaching – ideal qualities in a manager. 

In short, I think the benefits outweigh the negatives.

But, I believe, if you want to have parents, especially those with young children working in your company, flexibility is the best gift you can give them.

And I had no idea of this before having my first child, so sincere apologies to the parents who worked with me before then – I just didn’t get it!

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