As fulltime working moms, we already have in front of us, a plate full of errands to run, kids’ homework to check, quality time needed for bonding and tasks to complete at work. Many moms learnt it along the way to pare things down, so that we don’t kill ourselves by trying to fulfil past expectations, formed in our previous kid-less lives, as we live our current mommy circumstances. My approach for this is to take the heat off a little and go for jobs in an industry I’m familiar with, but offer better work-life balance. I’ve seem to found something close albeit it coming with a paycut. Fair enough I guess.
Despite the monetary reduction as well as the need to navigate office politics to some extent, how I see it is that this new job of mine offers great learning opportunities. The completely different nature of work from what I have been doing for the past 13 years is a refreshing change for a start. It is also purposeful enough because it helps me hone other useful skills that would likely be in demand for at least the next 5, 10 years until machines take over by way of say, natural language processing. There’s also the opportunity to grow professionally in terms of how to manage people as a whole, whether it is upwards, downwards or sideways. And if you’re like me and concur that we need to juggle being the cheerleader at home and at the office, you’ll need to:
Step 1: Recognize your leading style
The truth is, anyone can be a leader as long as you have followers. History has shown us examples of those who rose and commanded presence, whether through their brand of charisma or through sheer persistence and faith in their vision and mission. These tend to be natural leaders but the thing is, they are usually far and few between. The awkward truth is that stepping up to take the lead is more often than not, met with resistance or nonchalance from people you were meant to rally.
I’ve seen this happening way too many times at the workplace where for instance, people in charge make changes to the usual way of doing things, but these are frown upon and criticized as being a hindrance instead. That’s human nature because people tend to react negatively when faced with the need to behave out of the norm. There’s however, no need to label yourself – “not a leader”, “having no leadership qualities”, or whatsoever. You can still assume position by being yourself with a quickwin. Here’s how:
Step 2: Listen to what people want
I can’t believe it’s as easy as this but it works brilliantly! I guess when it comes to egging people on, nothing beats hearing it from the horses’ mouths. I’m a great believer of intrinsic motivation and as moms, it’s a great tip to keep in mind and an invaluable skill to have if we can work this to our advantage at home. Kids become self-directed so it halves our efforts to cajole and coax. At work, people instinctively get powered up doing something they want and believe in. As they say, the devil’s in the details. The trick is to be able to listen and work things out such that they tie in to the grand scheme and objectives met.
Listening to what people want is a leveraging tool, but one that is almost second nature to us moms the moment we popped the baby because very swiftly we develop the ability to discern the differing cries of bub in order to cater to his/her needs. 🤣 By tailoring our actions and reactions according to what moves people, we can easily score a homerun that keeps others happy, more receptive to what you’d say subsequently and basically a more pleasant environment to co-work in. You make friends on the ground, start to rally and before you know it, have people who are willing to follow your lead. As a form of sustenance, thereafter, remember to:
Step 3: See the best in others
Personally, I’m an advocate for ruling with a heart. And because I hope to be valued for who I am and what I can offer wherever I go, I believe in seeing the best in others and drawing out strengths instead of focusing on weaknesses. As moms, this is also one of the most important things to keep in mind as we aim to raise great kids. Playing on strengths help boost the esteem and naturally calls upon the motivation to be at one’s best. Effortlessly.
At work, more often than not we are teamed up with people of varying experiences and personalities. Looking out for each team member’s strengths help lay out a myriad of expertise and forms the basis to throw out ideas of how best to complete an urgent task, for instance. It’s teamwork at its best and opens up an opportunity for great camaraderie. Honestly, this is something I thrive on at the workplace and although it is often not easy to attain in the midst of office politics, it’s not impossible to achieve. Someone has to take the first step and lay the ground for open, honest and kind communication and refrain from engaging in the political game, just to get back at say, a not-so-nice email received. See the big picture, remember team goals and choose to take the higher ground.
Let’s he-ack it!