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The News Chair

Applying Parenting Skills to the Workplace


Like many parents who have young children at home, I’ve been accused of having baby on the brain.


Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

Parenthood is such an all-consuming responsibility that it can often feel like it pushes out everything else in life you used to regard as so important. (Hobbies? Fuhgedaboutit.)


But I’ve been surprised by how much the skills I’ve developed as a dad have been helpful in the workplace, and vice-versa. I truly believe being a parent has made me a better marketing professional, and some of the things I do during the workday assist me in caring for our two boys (ages 3½ and 11 months).


Translatability from home to work

This is not to suggest that changing diapers will make you a zippier writer or that bath time will help you create better code for your company’s new mobile app. But some of the tasks you have to do or challenges you face as a mom or dad can enhance your workflow on the job.


For instance, I’ve had to improve my financial planning skills, prioritizing what needs are most urgent (shoes, doctor appointments) and what can wait (my idea for stone borders in the backyard).


I’ve also become more proactive, setting goals six months ahead of time instead of six days. And I’ve learned to become a master of coordinating with my wife, for everything from the weekly meal plan and annual vacations to home repairs.


Staying on the move

Studies have shown that men who are actively engaged with their children are more likely to be successful on the job.


As LifeWorks put it, “In both roles, success comes from connecting and cooperating with other people, adapting to quickly changing conditions, and earning the support of others to achieve results.”


For marketing, that’s a spot-on description of the profession: it’s constantly on the move, and your success is directly reliant upon your ability to collaborate well with peers and clients. Of course, these same criteria apply to many other industries, from healthcare to accounting.


Anticipate and create

Sanaz Marbley of JMPR Public Relations has an excellent article on her company’s blog about the similarities between her day job and her new role as a mom. Among them:


  1. Anticipate Needs – For babies and clients. If you can figure out when your child is going to need something, you can avoid a number of meltdowns. Similarly, you will gain the trust and confidence of your clients when you can anticipate their needs.
  2. Be a Contingency Planner – Think ahead, get ahead. Make a list of the “what ifs” and be prepared to deal with each situation accordingly.
  3. Pay Attention to Detail – That’s where you make it or break it. Developing a system to help you keep track of the details is crucial in caring for your child or your client. Set up a game plan in advance, and follow up to make sure goals are accomplished.
  4. Use Creative Problem Solving – Come up with wild ideas, then shape to fit. Use your imagination to distract your child or come up with how your client can add flare to their next event.
  5. Get Some Perspective – Step back sometimes for the eagle’s-eye view. Take a breather to get some perspective and come back recharged.


If you need help with any of these areas, the Coles Marketing team has the expertise you need!


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Categories: 2014 June Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,