Gareth Nicholas

What can we learn about Leadership from Pandemic Parenting?

Throughout the past 18 months or so, many working parents have had to become teachers, entertainers, chefs and more all while sustaining performance in their professional roles. Often outnumbered by the number of tasks and children, it would be easy to understand how such a situation could be overwhelming. Yet, did this unique set of circumstances help to define leadership skills that can be transferred to the office? This article looks at the ways in which balancing parenting and professionalism has influenced the general Leadership abilities of Pandemic Parents.


Managing diverse teams

Parents of multiple children had to learn very quickly that not everyone can be managed in the same way. The work-from-home situation allowed parents to see the differences between their children in a way they might not have noticed before. Becoming teachers illustrated differences in learning styles, attention abilities, motivations and reactions to feedback. As such, it was vital to adapt and adhere to the individual differences of each child all while attempting to maintain a close-knit family unit. This is evidently reflective of a managerial role in an office environment. Leaders are constantly managing the needs of distinct individuals while encouraging them to work together for a common goal. A one-size fits all approach won’t be effective when trying to get the best from your people. Understanding the individual needs and aspirations of your teams will offer better people management opportunities and ultimately, a more effective working environment.

Multi-tasking in a hybrid world

Maintaining your professional persona on a ZOOM call while your children run amok is a multi-tasking skill that has never seen so much training as in the last 18-months. Many parents have developed their own ways in which to produce work effectively with minimal disruption all while giving the utmost attention to both work and home life. One tried and tested way of achieving this is to work in 20-25 minute bursts of activity. It would be rare for parents to find an hour of complete focus but aiming for productive 20 minute intervals can seem more achievable. Dissecting your time into manageable bursts of activity is endorsed by psychological and scientific research. It allows your brain to focus specifically on the task at hand in order to complete it within the given time. Managing time is a leading factor in work-related stress, so taking control of your daily calendar will ensure your work tasks do not control you.

Leading with compassion

One thing that the pandemic world has taught us, is to honestly reflect on what it is that is important and what we value as success. Every day brought new challenges and obstacles to overcome so the perceived success of each day has become more fluid. We have all gained better insight into the lives we are all living outside of the office which opens the door for a more compassionate, understanding set of standards when it comes to success. These new compassionate standards address any overwhelming need for perfection. As the boundary between life and work come ever more blurred, we’ve all been encouraged to be more honest about what is and what isn’t achievable. Honestly assessing your limitations and communicating them will allow everyone to strive for their best work in a more empathetic environment.

Summary of Leadership Skills

Overall, parents can learn a lot from their children and managing them effectively. As parents, we want our children to do the best they can and be happy but rarely does this mindset transfer to the workplace. Confident, effective leaders will grace their teams with the respect and understanding needed to perform highly in an ever changing world. Doing our best at work doesn’t necessarily equate to the need for perfection, rather it refers to completing tasks in an effective way for you and ultimately your team and organisation. For diverse teams and remote workforces, honest communication is key to success and leaders need to appreciate the fuller lives each team member leads. This does not mean that Leaders need to lower their expectations or standards, it simply means that respected Leaders manage their teams with compassion and contextual understanding.

Blayze Group are specialists in Talent Consultancy and Leadership Development. We work with some of the world’s leading Construction and Real Estate organisations to build teams and develop their people. Blayze Vantage work with talent and organisations to produce bespoke development plans, organisational frameworks, executive coaching, leadership programmes and much more. For more informtion on how Blayze can help drive your organisation forward and develop its people, get in touch with our expert team.

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