Parenthood to the C-Suite: 4 Lessons from Home that Work in the Office

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Parenthood is a journey that can bring many new perspectives. Mothers and fathers often comment that having a child completely changes their outlook on life, teaching them lessons they would not have learned otherwise. Many of these lessons apply in the office, not just home life. Working parents, especially those who want to progress to an executive position, can become better at their jobs by learning how their children interact with the world and utilizing the strategies that best help their little ones. Below are 4 lessons parents can take from home to the office:

1. Constantly Strive for Self-Improvement

One of the wonders of parenthood is seeing a child experience something new. Children are constantly learning from the time they first draw breath. In fact, according to the Urban Child Institute, an infant’s brain doubles in size during the first year of life. This continuous process of absorbing and interpreting new information allows children to better adapt to their environments.

The same notion is true for working professionals. The world is constantly evolving, and global connectivity is changing the ways companies interact with vendors and consumers. Only the professional leaders who continue learning about these new developments can keep up. Aspiring executives should internalize this idea and make sure they stay on top of emerging trends, technology, and ideas in the world of business.

One way they can do so is by earning an Executive Master of Business Administration at the Washington State University Carson College of Business. Our EMBA program is designed for working professionals with a few years of management experience who want to progress to the C-suite. Students can complete the program completely online in as few as 18 months, allowing them to maintain their work and family life as they pursue their degrees.

Throughout their time at the Carson College, students improve their skill sets and experiences by studying advanced, modern business concepts to prepare themselves to become the leaders of tomorrow. The curriculum focuses heavily on global business concepts, and students have the opportunity to expand their perspective by studying abroad in Europe or China for 10 days. During this time, they will tour international companies and participate in workshops with students from partner schools. The insights learned on these trips can provide valuable tools for students who lead major corporations after graduation.

EMBA students can study abroad and meet learners from partner schools.

2. Set Aside Time for Rest and Repair

Few parents are strangers to the frustrations of an overstimulated child. Too much surrounding activity causes children to grow cranky at best and inconsolable at worst. Often, the only end to these meltdowns is to remove the child from such environments.

The best way to prevent children from becoming overstimulated is to make sure they have adequate quiet time. This allows a baby’s brain to rest and process information at a rate it can handle. Again, this concept also applies to working adults. Many people put too much stress on their brains and bodies by working an excessive number of hours.

Burnout is a common risk in such situations, but working too hard can have consequences that are much deadlier. According to research from University College London, which surveyed medical data from 603,838 men and women across the United States, Europe, and Australia, adults who work more than 55 hours weekly have a 13 percent greater risk of heart disease and a 33 percent greater risk of stroke compared to those working 35 to 40 hours.

Death from overwork is not discussed much in the United States, but it’s a large problem in other countries. China and Japan even have specific words for the phenomenon: guolaosi and karoshi, respectively. In fact, a white paper from the Japanese government announced that as many as 1 in 5 workers are at risk of karoshi. Thus, the threat of overwork does not apply to just executives but also managers and office employees. Business leaders, particularly those with employees who come from cultures prone to ignoring work-life balance, should be aware of the dangers of overwork and help create and implement employee wellness policies.

In essence, both children and adults can handle only so much activity before they cannot function properly. Proper rest and relaxation are vital for mental and physical health.

Employee burnout compromises performance.

3. Adapt Expectations to Align with Existing Information

Expectant parents often daydream about their future lives as mothers and fathers. However, these fantasies rarely capture the reality of raising a child. More often than not, parents downplay the difficulties of their new lives, such as late nights and emotional meltdowns. When the baby finally arrives, the new parents must quickly adapt to reality or find themselves overwhelmed with a small, helpless human.

This adaptability is also essential for working in business. Future executives may enter the office with certain expectations, only to find the data they rely on does not always confirm such views. Ignoring this information and relying on gut instinct is rarely a good move and can, in extreme cases, bring about a company’s downfall.

The Carson College’s online EMBA program includes courses on database management and business analytics, so future executives can understand how to best collect and interpret data, and then make decisions based off that information. This way, they can set their personal assumptions aside and do what is best for the business.

4. Communicate in a Way Others Understand

Just as parents have trouble understanding a baby’s babbles, so too do infants fail to recognize adult speech. They understand communication is happening, but they do not understand what is being said. Parents are forced to find some way of interacting that addresses the baby’s needs, putting aside what they know of communicating with other adults in favor of methods that work with their children.

Again, this concept applies to the world of business as well. Executives must be excellent communicators, but many don’t understand how best to interact with their employees. This challenge, in part, can be attributed to the soft-skills gap. To thrive in a leadership position, executives must develop traits such as employing active listening and providing positive feedback, which can help close the communication gap between them and their employees.

Studying as a Parent at the Carson College

Earning an advanced degree while attending to the needs of a young child is incredibly difficult. Thankfully, the Carson College’s online EMBA program is flexible, so parents can further their education regardless of their schedules. Students can review lessons and complete coursework from almost anywhere in the world. To learn more and find out how to apply, visit our website.

Recommended Readings:

5 Ways the World’s Top CEOs Maintain Their Work-Life Balance

Sources:
onlinemba.wsu.edu/executive-mba/

onlinemba.wsu.edu/executive-mba/international-field-study/

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(15)60295-1/fulltext

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/08/japan-one-fifth-of-employees-at-risk-of-death-from-overwork-report

Curriculum