Moving back to the work week, we see people hurrying to their office. The bulk of this workforce will consist of staffs and managers who are parents. Being parents usually signify the demand of time and energy to take care of their children. Hence, the direct questions is, do dedicated parents imply that they will become better managers or leaders?
In Today’s paper, Marian Ruderman, a director of the Center for Creative Leadership, certainly think so. She cited studies that conclude that family-focused workers can make better managers.
The following is her article on this issue:
Dedicated Parents, Better Mangers?
PARENTS across the country can now hold their heads high when heading out of the office to attend a teacher’s conference or coach a football game.
Being a committed parent can enhance managerial ability, according to a study by the Center for Creative Leadership and Clark University.
Child-rearing develops skills that are useful for work, the study found. Being able to manage the demands of raising children and running a household helps people better manage the stress of work instead of adding to it.
Family experiences provide managers with positive feeling that carry over to the workplace and facilitate performance.
They also help managers to develop the ability to see others’ views — a capacity that is critical to supervising others, working in teams or relating to superiors.
The study contradicts conventional wisdom that parents are easily distracted by their responsibilities at home, in particular their children, and are therefore more likely to be ineffective at work.
Published last year in the
Journal of Applied Psychology, the study shows for the first time how raising a family helps develop skills such as negotiating, compromising, conflict resolution and multi-tasking, which are important traits of successful managers.
The study has important implications for employees and organizations alike.
While many organizations have adopted family-friendly policies, most still operate under the assumption that a family focus will detract from performance.
But the research suggests this assumption is wrong. In fact, a family-focused manager may be the leader your company should have.
Life beyond Work
Life outside of work is important for both women and men — and their careers.
Investing time in family relationships, friendships, volunteer work and personal interests has been shown to enhance on-the job performance as well as psychological well-being.
Roles and responsibilities outside of work can serve as creative and supportive sources for learning how to be a more effective manager.
Off-the-job experiences help people to hone interpersonal skills, handle multiple tasks and develop the ability to draw on relevant background and information.
Regular exercise and effective leadership also go hand-in-hand.
Time invested in regular exercise, even if it means spending less time at work, is correlated with higher — not lower — ratings of leadership effectiveness.
Research suggests that leaders who exercise regularly are rated significantly higher by their bosses, peers and direct reports than non-exercisers. It seems a healthy lifestyle can help executives to better cope with the stresses and demands of their positions.
An organisation’s attitude towards employees’ life outside of work is a factor in retaining them. Whether they are raising young families, preparing for retirement, caring for elderly parents or pursuing personal interests, employees often feel their organisations forget that they have a life outside work. Organisations and leaders can help all generations navigate their need for work-life balance by: Clarifying priorities. People have trouble figuring out their priorities when everything at work is deemed urgent. They struggle to give higher priority to family time when work pressure does not ease up.
Realistic resourcing. People have too much work to be done during normal work hours, so they routinely put in extra hours.
The perception is that their organizations do not care enough about employees to bother resourcing the work appropriately.
Reducing stress. Extreme stress is one reason people leave their jobs or turn down interesting positions.
Some people feel forced to choose between an interesting or challenging job and the kind of life they want to lead.
Creating flexibility. A flexible schedule allows people with children to get more work done and yet enables them to be with their families.
For older people approaching retirement, offering this would be a convenient solution and a sign of the respect the organization has for its employees.