Managing As A Working Parent

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“You’re like a mother duck with all your little ducklings trailing along behind.”  The observation was shared uninvited as I worked through the monthly shop, five helpers scurrying to various places for needed items, a small child seated in the trolley and another growing in my swollen belly.

Nowadays, the supermarket shop is vastly different – although many of our ducklings have flown the coop, there are still a few to grow, and dovetailing this with a managing a thriving business has its challenging days.  “How do you manage?” is still a question I field between creating videos for our business, organising client bookings and travel logistics, and mothering four school children while maintaining relationship with six adult offspring scattered near and far across New Zealand.

It's a journey. From managing our schoolwork as children, to managing our personal lives as we head into adulthood, to managing working 40 hours a week while managing our personal lives, we are set up in life to increase our skills and ability at managing, on a fairly constant basis. Here are my top three tips for management.

 #1 Prioritise. Management comes with an implication – you have to prioritise.  You have to know what’s important and what is urgent and what is distraction.  I remember a time when I would repeg the washing my mother-in-law hung, so it fitted my way of how it should be done.  Now I am grateful when the washing is hung and only repeg if the person who thought that item of clothing would dry pegged into a bunched up heap like that, is not around to retrain how to do it so it dries effectively and quickly, efficiently using line space which is occasionally at a premium.

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#2 Vision. Knowing what you’re working to achieve and getting there are not the same thing.  Directing, keeping account, training and delegation are necessary for survival, but more than that, they are necessary to achieve the goal. There are too many things to be done to get them all done yourself.  A good manager knows how to delegate, and how to maximise the potential of their team.  This comes bundled with a necessity to know your people – their strengths and weaknesses, their roles and responsibilities, and to help them to own their “cog in the clock”, to contribute to the team as a whole, and to grow personally.

#3 Keep people accountable. Listening to Mike discuss deeply with a potential client, and promise to have a proposal to them in the next couple of days, I found it necessary to point out the list of things that he had jotted down to do before the weekend and remind him that while he’s pretty incredible, he only has a finite amount of time.  It was logistically impossible to do everything and he needed to refocus on giving realistic timelines to clients.  Ensuring that you can have real, building and aligning conversations with your team creates an environment of trust which means both the team and the business thrive.

As you hit your workplace today, whether it’s simply your own role you’re managing (I know – that may not be simple); managing people in a team;  or managing a home/work balance – keep focused on the big picture while working through the details, daily routines, and tasks that need to be done.  Get the big and important things done first, and enjoy the journey.

Here’s to your success!