Some of us are natural-born leaders (you know who you are), and some of us develop into leaders later in life, often by stepping into a management role in our careers or becoming a parent. And for many of us, we take on leadership roles at both work and at home.
Whether you started out as “mom” and moved to becoming a “boss” or the other way around, the skills learned in one setting will transfer to the other. Taking the lessons you’ve learned as a boss or a parent can help you make decisions when wearing the other hat. I had a professor at MIT that stated, quite confidentally, from the lectern that being a parent would make me a better boss. At the time, I didn't have children so could not imagine how this could possibly work. And fast forward a few years, and yes, he was so right.
To see how this works, identify the leadership qualities you have at work and home, and then see how those skills are transferable. Here are a few leadership skills you may already be practicing without realizing it.
Leading From Home to Work
Inspire – You give your kids crayons and paint and Legos to inspire their creativity – are you giving your team members the equivalent workplace tools to inspire them? Finding ways to engage your employees, whether its wellness offerings, new training opportunities or an old-fashioned pizza-fueled brainstorming session, can result in exciting solutions.
Lead by example – You’re a good role model to your kids, right? You use your napkin at the table; you say please and thank you; you visit your mother-in-law when you don’t want to. In the same way, demonstrating good manners with a cranky client or rolling up your sleeves to tackle the less-than-desirable tasks on the job allows you to lead by example.
Listen – Your kindergartener had a tough day at school, so you let her pour her heart out, listening to her frustrations and fears. Are you listening to your employees, too?
Leading From Work to Home
Delegation – You have no problem doling out tasks at work, from who empties wastebaskets each week to who pays the invoices. Are you doing the same at home? Children can begin age-appropriate tasks at an early age, and delegating simple chores will help with your workload at home, which equals more quality time with the family.
Clear communication – Just as you set clear expectations with your team at work, you should be communicating clear expectations at home. And, if something unexpectedly changes, be sure to explain what’s happening. Adults and children alike appreciate an explanation beyond “I said so.”
Focus – Leaders are focused on their organization’s goals, ensuring planning, implementation and evaluation are ongoing. Instill these same skills in your children and watch them blossom into goal-oriented problem solvers!
Now think about some of the skills you have found useful at home or at work. Can you see how they seamlessly go between home and work and connect up in surprising ways?