Parents have the same skills as successful CEOs

Filed under: Just For Moms, Just For Dads, Work Life, That's Entertainment

On Friday I attended The Motherlode, a conference on women's issues pertaining specifically to mothers, hosted by the Association of Research on Mothering. Though all the speakers were fabulous, the engaging and humorous Ann Crittenden, author of The Price of Motherhood, struck me the most. Crittenden, a mother and former New York Times economics writer, had noticed over the years that the techniques being taught in business seminars sounded surprisingly similar to what she had read in childrearing books.

Her latest book If You Can Manage Kids, You Can Manage Anything blows away "the myth that raising children is not real work." In her talk, Crittenden offered this list of skills that one acquires from parenting and can be applied to your professional life. Here's what all parents learn after years on the job:
  1. Multitasking: All parents learn the ability to focus amid constant distraction. Parents learn to prioritize, particularly "What can be put off until later."
  2. Interpersonal/people skills: Parents master the skill of listening respectfully, as well as the art of negotiation. We deal with irrational people every day!
  3. The ability to motivate and inspire people to do their best: As parents we are growing "human capabilities." The most effective leaders encourage drive and bring out the very best in people through positive reinforcement. (Sound familiar?)
  4. Habits of integrity: Parents have perspective and humility. (Having an entire hospital see my breasts comes to mind.) Parents are good at "being there." Even if we're not physically there all the time, we have a way of making people feel like we've got their backs.
This speech made me proud of my accomplishments with my family. It also made me want to run home and add "Mother" to my list of careers over the years. I think Crittenden's book would be especially helpful to those parents who've been out of the workplace for some time and are looking a way to define their valuable experience.

Got anything to add to this list of transferable skills?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.