Transfer Your Work Skills to Your Home Life (and Vice Versa)

  • women powering business
  • November 02, 2012

Managing employees and running a household require similar skills, according to Melissa Cooley’s recent article for Women Powering Business.

“Whether you are currently working as a manager or are a stay-at-home mom looking to get back into a management role after taking time off, you possess skills that are very transferable to the other side of your life,” Cooley writes.

Cooley advises using the same skills you use to succeed on the job to enhance your home life – and vice versa.

“The next time you are at a loss for how to motivate your child or need an idea for mediating conflict at work, take a look at what you do in the other side of your life for some skills you already have!” writes Cooley.

Cooley outlines six skills that are beneficial at both home and work:

1. Project/quality management: At work, you need to keep everything moving smoothly so that, ultimately, the customers get the quality products or services they are looking for when they expect them. This oftentimes requires that multiple initiatives be coordinated at the same time. At home, your family demands to be taken to various activities, be fed good food by a certain time, live in a clean house, have clothes that are laundered and fit well, and the list goes on. To do this well on the job and at home, you need to work efficiently, use high-quality inputs, and ensure that everyone involved is trained to do their tasks.

2. Motivational tools: A system of rewards and consequences characterize a manager’s efforts to encourage her team to reach goals and do the best job possible. The same idea applies to parents who are attempting to inspire their children in learning new concepts, in performing during their extra-curricular activities, and in their completion of schoolwork. While the specific rewards and consequences may differ, the general idea behind the execution of it is the same in either situation.

3. Conflict management: If you have more than one child, you get the opportunity to hone this skill every day. Whether it’s a toy, computer time, whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher, or who gets Mom to tuck them in for the night, kids will always find something over which to bicker and fight. While you may not tell your employees to go to their rooms for a time out, you can use some of the other negotiation and diplomacy principles at work that you also use to help your children calm down when a disagreement arises.

4. Crisis management: Life at work rarely goes according to plan. There’s always something that goes amiss and needs to be handled right away. And, depending on the day, your home life may feel like one crisis after another. Crisis management skills have been a great help to me at home, particularly with the various Urgent Care and ER visits that have been a by-product of having two kids.

5. Coaching: Being able to do a good job doesn’t always come naturally. Both employees and children often need guidance that will help them be successful at the tasks they are attempting to do, and the approach taken in each situation is very much the same – it’s done with patience and understanding.

6. Development of subordinates (or children): As a good manager, one of your roles is to help members of your team grow professionally. At times, that will mean that the person will develop in a way that leads them to leave your group for a promotion. Parents do the same thing with their children – they talk with them about what their interests are, give them opportunities to learn different skills and determine which ones they want to pursue further, and, ultimately, support them in reaching their goals so they can have the lives they want as independent adults.

Melissa Cooley is a career consultant with a passion for helping clients reach their job hunt goals and maximize their career potential and contributor for Women Powering Business, a source focusing on women-leadership in the workplace.