Management as Parenthood

Do parents make better managers? I sure think so. There are lots of similar responsibilities in both roles. Each trains you and prepares you for the other in a cyclical manner.

And apparently, according to a article, researchers from Clark University and the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC, agree:

According to new research, parents–at least those committed to family life–actually perform better in the office. …

Those who were committed to family life achieved significantly better reviews. The reason: Parents learn to multitask, handle stress and negotiate, says Marian N. Ruderman, research director at the Center for Creative Leadership, and one of the study’s authors.

“In parenting roles you get a chance to do a lot of the same things you do as a manager,” Ruderman says. “You get to hone your interpersonal skills. You learn how to develop other people. It’s another opportunity to learn from experience.”

Ah! Exactly what I said!

There are some caveats, though. “After all, employees are not toddlers,” says the article. (No, not toddlers. Maybe more like teens. Ever try to settle a petty dispute between coworkers?)

There isn’t direct evidence of causality between being a good manager and a good parent, however. But someone who’s a good manager typically is a good parent, and vice versa. Tammy Allen, a psychology professor at the University of South Florida, adds: “the best employees are probably those who are engaged in all life roles,” whether it be as a manager or a parent, employee or spouse. “It’s just indicative of someone who’s an active, engaged individual.”

In another study by Ajilon Office, an executive administrative professional staffing firm, says that “77% of American women believe that being a parent helps prepare one for being a more effective manager.”

Although the study focuses more on women’s perceptions of how being a good parent means being a manager, the results raise some salient points:

  • “The top parenting skill that helps out the most at work is communication according to 50% of women.”
  • “Whether it’s being constantly on the go with children’s extra curricular activities or working on three different projects at once, women rank the ability to multi-task as the second most important parenting skill that helps at the office.”
  • “More than a third of women decided that learning to be flexible as new projects arise and priorities shift is the workplace skill that’s refined most at home while parenting.”
  • “Another 23% of women believe that the ability to handle workplace conflicts, whether it’s between co-workers or with clients, is the top managerial skill that comes from raising children.”

See? Mommy’s not just a manager at work; Mommy’s a manager at home too.

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.

2 thoughts on “Management as Parenthood”

  1. You sure you don’t have kids? Kind of sounds like you do, or at least have experience with them.

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