3 Ways Motherhood Made Me More Empathetic Leader
Being a mother means being “on the clock” 24/7, 365 days per year. In many ways, being in a leadership role can sometimes feel the same way. Each day brings on a new set of challenges, and sometimes there is no telling what those challenges will be, when they will happen, or where they will appear. To all of the parents reading this article, I understand that you know how challenging it can be to have to show up to the rescue the moment that something spills, breaks, or your little one is upset.
To a degree, being a leader requires the ability to tend to all of the above while remaining empathetic to empower each of your team members to be the best versions of themselves. It is critical for your team members to feel supported during times of need, just as a child needs your support.
Personally, my perception of leadership has changed drastically since I became a mother, nonetheless a single mother later on in life. Situations like these, as many of you know, will put your back up against the wall to develop skills in order to manage multiple roles and responsibilities on your plate, and to always deliver on time.
With that said, here are three ways that motherhood has made me into a more empathetic leader in the workplace:
Becoming a Better Version of Yourself By Being There For Others
Showing up and supporting your team every day with the challenges they face (no matter how big or small), can help one deal with their own challenges. One of the quickest ways to overcome feeling like you’re in a rut is to do something kind for someone else. No matter how you support your team, whether it be coaching them through a new situation, speaking with individuals about work-life balance or enabling them with the resources they need to unleash their full potential, paying forward advice that’s served you well over the years will always return dividends to everyone on the team, including yourself. This is especially true when you’re able to connect with other parents who feel alone and overwhelmed with all there is to juggle and balance between running a family and maintaining a successful career. Oftentimes simply letting someone know that you see and hear them is what they truly need.
Developing Skills To Balance Multiple Responsibilities
Parents are often powering through days with full calendars and to-do lists that consist of appointments and obligations for their children, work blocks, and other unexpected needs that arise throughout the day. Sure, we all see the social media posts and blogs about how you can become a “super parent” and never feel stressed again if you follow some magical set of steps. The truth is, accepting the fact that there will be days where unexpected needs arise and that all you can do is remain proactive in managing situations like these. The same goes for leading a team. You may have the most organized calendar or to-do list, but what happens when something that’s both time sensitive and important arises unexpectedly? It will more than likely throw off the rest of your day’s schedule. That’s ok. Accept the fact that this is going to happen from time to time as a parent and as a leader, and plan accordingly with your team. As long as everyone is aware of what’s going on and what the plan is to overcome the day’s surprise, a team can work together to remain solution oriented and remain on track. By enabling your team to be proactive with their scheduling and sharing of their child’s obligations with respect to their calendar and work environment, you will watch your team grow in empathy almost overnight.
Consistently Celebrating Employee Accomplishments
Who would not want to be surrounded by greatness? Whether it’s your child or your team at work, being surrounded by greatness makes everyone more enthusiastic, motivated, and productive. So what is one way to instill this in your team? Celebrate accomplishments.
The same way you might celebrate your child’s wins (both big and small) to let them know you are proud of them and to instill a sense of accomplishment, excitement, and enthusiasm, doing this with your team creates a similar impact. Sharing employee achievements with your team shows others that there is no shortage of opportunities to create their own success and achieve new goals. Cultivating a culture that celebrates success will boost employee morale, engagement, and empathy.
Written by Christina DiArcangelo.
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