So its been 8 months since I became a Dad to a cute little monster (think Monsters Inc!)! :-)
Its been a very rewarding start of the journey called Parenting for both me and my wife!
Its been a very rewarding growth for both me and wife, more so for me as for a Wife to become a Mother, the transformation is quite instant and at the same time seamless. But for me from a Husband to a Father has been loads of learning at various levels.
As I look back on these 8 months, I realized being a Parent and being a Manager has many similarities. Though I am not yet ready or experienced enough to make a statement that being good in one makes you automatically good in another, but as some one who reports to a Manager and me in a way ‘managing’ our baby, I see there can be a potential correlation.
If you have been doing both for many years, please feel free to share your thoughts below.
So below I am listing down some of the attributes of a “good” parent and will also correlate it with a Manager :
- Self comes last (but still on the list) — now everything revolves around our Son. Our schedules, our time for sleep, our time for leisure, when venturing out we have to see whether our Son would be comfortable or not. It doesn’t mean we don’t have a life of our own, as mentioned Self is still on the list, its just that we have to make time for it.
If you have to read a book, watch a Movie/TV-show, exercise, catch up on friends, etc it will be quite difficult when your baby is around you. So you need to get up early/stay up till late or do your things when the Baby is asleep. With a good and understanding spouse, this becomes easy to manager as one can be with the Baby in shifts so that other is not too burdened or occupied all the time.
But its must to not let go of the activities which are for self! You will do better as a Parent if you take time off from Parenting regularly.
Manager angle — In many ways Manager has to ensure that all their core-working hours is for their team and help the team to ensure any kind of friction/bottlenecks are cleared for.
At the same time, even the Manager is a human and needs their time off so that they can rejuvenate and ensure they are at their best while doing their jobs as a Manager. And hence how he/she takes out time is critical for Manager and for his/her team members in the long run.
2. Fiercely guard “down-time” — when our baby is sleeping, we ensure NOTHING interrupts the sleep. Three primary reasons for this —
a. More often than not making a baby sleep takes significant effort.
b. Sleep is important for baby’s development.
c. When baby is asleep, its a precious time for even the parents to rest or to do other work (home/office) which becomes quite impossible when the baby is awake and needs attention.
Manager angle — There will be times (not too often though) when the work is not too heavy and their team members can “let go” for a while. These are the opportunities which the Managers should ensure are interrupted. Many “not-so-good” managers cant see that their team is not working and will give some work or the other or even create work just to keep them busy. This is clear no-no in the long run.
If the team is having it easy, ensure they enjoy it in their own way or depending on the team and the organisation, utilize this time for skill-building or even better make them take a day or two off. If and when I become a Manager some day, I will make it mandatory for everyone to take at-least a week off in a year if they are not doing it on their own.
Working all the time is so over-rated and is wrongly attributed to a successful career. This is definitely not sustainable over long periods and is a path to burn-out more often than not. The resting period is what matters and needs the attention it sorely lacks.
3. Encouraging/observing Persistence — Lets have a look at some of the initial Goals/KRAs which a Baby may have — able to sit, able to crawl, able to walk, able to start talking a few words (hopefully Mummy, Papa!). So who can help them in these goals? Literally no one. Babies are super persistent and all these goals they are able to achieve on their own.
Imagine if a parent saying, dear you have tried 1000 times to walk and not able to do, so don’t try again…firstly it would seem so crazy and secondly even if the parent says so, will the baby listen? No! Babies are the best role models for how one can be persistent and how it pays. Now there are also other forms of not so very good persistence when the baby grows into a teenage and then cries/pesters persistently to get lets say an iPhone! But that’s beyond the scope of this article and am downright discouraging this kind of persistence.
Manager Angle — More often than not, any new work by its inherent nature has not been done before and will take some time to do it. Even though one may have the required knowledge/experience, there is hardly any work which is ditto. Many factors and nuances exist which ensures that one can’t really blindly copy paste the experience on their work and get it done in a jiffy. Just doesn’t happen.
Bad managers expect instant result as they also need to answer to some one. What this results is haste in getting things done. This is not good for two reasons —
- Journey is more important than the end. More so in work life, when the end is dynamic, but its the journey what grows you as a person as a professional. So when the journey is compromised, even though the end is achieved, its a short term gain. Trading pennies for dollars. And how do you ensure that you meet the end every time? That is why the journey is critical.
- If the journey or the process is not enjoyable, the end wont matter and a sense of accomplishment will be replaced by a sense of relief of having got the work done. If this happens all the time, what it leads to is burn-out and eventually attrition.
4. Patience — My biggest growth has been in this area and the growth has been quite instant. I was not a very patient person especially around babies and kids, until I became a Father. Let me share a few opportunities when Patience plays an important role —
When in the middle of the night, the baby wakes up for whatever reason, it takes patience to handle. A lot of patience.
When the baby cries and as one is still learning, it takes a lot of patience to calm the baby down.
When you are having your meal and the baby wants you to hold him/her…it takes a lot of patience to carry the baby and still have/enjoy your meal.
Whenever baby and a million other things need your attention, at the same time, you need a lot of patience to get things done and also spend time with your child.
Manager Angle — By definition a Manager is more skilled at many things than the one in their team. The problem comes when the Manager expects or assumes that all their team members are as skilled or as experienced as they are and hence results/goals should be met like yesterday. This leads to impatience at many levels and many aspects.
This is where patience is critical not only to handle the team and the work but also to gain trust, build the team spirit, grow the team and so on.
Its amazing how will little patience a lot of things fall in place, a lot of issues get resolved, a lot gets done.
These are the top 4 things which I wanted to share with you all, as the journey of Parenting progresses, will share more of what I have experienced.
Please share your thoughts, one parent needs another parent…its all about the community.