Has your work self met your home self? (leadershipEQ meets parentalEQ)

We all learn on the job, either in the workplace or at home. But what we learn, and in turn what we choose to apply to those two environments is pretty enlightening. For many of us, our work persona and home persona aren’t that different – the way we interact with colleagues, lead teams and influence people. For others, they couldn’t be further apart.


The work/life balance has become more of a blend in recent years, and in recent months, more of a blur. What can we learn from analysing that workplace version of ourselves, as a colleague and leader, and translating it to the home environment?


Interestingly, some experts say that in order to understand behaviour in the workplace, you need to start at home first. Iain Wilson, CEO & Founder at executive search firm Occulus International says that during his interview process, there are usually questions around an individual’s family and upbringing. His view is that as our emotional intelligence (EQ) is shaped by our upbringing, for him acknowledging the impact of a candidate’s personal history is an insight into their leadership style and suitability to a role.


Acknowledging the impact of our upbringing is also vital to the work of Professor Marc De Rosnay, one of the ParentalEQ Psychology Advisory Board Directors. With a specialism in child development, his take is simple: ask yourself, what kind of kids you want to bring into this world, and acknowledge the role your behaviour plays in that outcome. On a personal level, Marc’s insights into culturally aligned influences were quite enlightening. “As an Asian child, my parents were focused on supporting me and my success, that enthusiasm is amazing, but really only works for the benefit of the child if the parent acknowledges and understands what the child needs. Not resolving any misunderstanding or disconnection may lead to a tension between parent and child, and have a negative impact as they transition into adulthood and future relationships.”


Suzie Shaw, Managing Director of We Are Social had some great insight on the commonalities between leadership EQ and parental EQ. As a senior leader in a successful digital marketing agency with a global network, her workplace team are typically young, progressive, technically minded and analytical; at home she has teenagers. “You need to acknowledge that employees and children are individuals, with different strengths and motivated by different things. Your role as both a parent and a leader is to understand the individual and adapt your style to getting the best out of them, whilst also ensuring they feel supported.” Suzie’s footprint for successful leadership translates perfectly from home to the workplace, A good leader needs to know how to understand and motivate the individual. As well as acknowledging that you’re managing an ongoing and organic relationship, when you won’t get every decision or interaction ‘right’, but as long as there is trust and respect, your ability to have a constructive relationship should endure.”


These industry leaders all share a common view: developing practices that support and encourage positive behaviour plays a crucial role in personal and professional achievements.

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