A colleague of mine said something to me recently that inspired this post. She said she wasn’t surprised by my efficiency at work, because I’m a mum. It made me think about the many skills used by mothers which are applicable in the workplace, so I thought I’d share my views.
Leadership and managerial skills
As a wife and working mum of two, I run my household. When I returned to work after my first child, being organised and being an active leader became even more paramount than when it was just my hubby and I.
Now, with two little people and one hubby in my charge, my managerial skills are used on a daily basis. I schedule our weekly and daily events, and make sure everyone is where they need to be, and on time. I ask my son and hubby about their day, and offer support as required (making cups of tea and giving plenty of hugs and high fives!)
I have found that my roles at home test my ability to communicate with a range of audiences. Explaining to a five year old that a certain course of action cannot be taken (“because mummy said so”); and using my précis skills to cut down chucks of information, so that I only give my hubby the salient points, has become an art form.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit to needing more work on my tone and delivery. However, for the most part, my interactions in this area stand me in good stead in the workplace.
Not forgetting non-verbal communication, growing up, I knew I’d crossed the line just by my mum’s facial expression. I’m still perfecting this with my children (who sometimes think I’m a clown). However, how many times have you been in the middle of telling your children off and they say something funny but you had to keep a straight face? Similarly in the workplace, have you ever had a colleague say something so ridiculous that you had to keep your composure and maintain a straight face? You see? You’ve got this Mama!
Conflict resolution and mediation
My sisters and I had legendary fights growing up. With my two, I thought I’d have a bit of time before I’d have to start refereeing their matches. Turns out, having a five year old, and a one year old (who is practically fearless), makes for interesting disputes.
Recently, a lot of intervention has been required to diffuse tense situations and I can confidently say, sometimes I manage to keep calm while brokering peace. I can also confidently say, the times when I don’t tune them out, I’ve found that good old blackmail/bribery works a treat. (Judge me all you want, it is what it is.)
On a serious note, getting to the heart of most disputes and finding out what each side wants will help you get to a resolution. Some compromise will be involved in brokering the peace, but parents do this all the time. So, we are already well equipped to deal with workplace challenges.
Working on own Initiative
Without doubt, since becoming a parent, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to think quickly on my feet and do random things to entertain my little people.
This is not dissimilar to being called on to carry out a task at the last minute or having to solve an unexpected problem at work. In the same way I manage to hold myself together as a mum even when I don’t have a clue, the same steel grit can be applied at work. I’m not advocating blagging (if it works for you great), nor am I saying you shouldn’t seek help as required. My point is, when faced with unexpected situations that call for quick thinking, as a mum, you already have the skills to problem solve, so be confident in your ability to get that ish done at work.
I can think of other things we do as mums that stand us in good stead in the work place such delivering bad or unwanted news; being task focused; tenacious and working to tight deadlines. Do share your examples and add to this non-exhaustive list.
Thanks for stopping by.
a.k.a Mama Nate