As business leaders, we’re told to keep work and home separate where we can. It makes sense in theory. How can you ever expect to be the partner and parent you want to be if you’re always preoccupied at home with work-related business?
But, as a business leader, it’s impossible to completely seperate the two. In fact, research suggests that maintaining strict distinctions between work roles and home roles might actually increase stress.
So, instead of leaving work at the office and home at the door, we should be looking for ways to integrate both, to the benefit of you and whoever else shares your home.
The Harvard Business Review has come up with a strategy for how parents can teach their children about work, in a way that brings mutual benefits.
Get the kids organising your time
Business leaders need to make a conscious effort to block off some time in their diary each week for some personal and family time. Why not get the kids involved in your diary management?
Simply sit down with them once a quarter and look for gaps which can be filled with things like holidays and day trips – or if time is at a particular premium, a visit to the park.
For your kids, it’s a chance to understand time management, as well as the variety of responsibilities that comes with running a business. While for you, you don’t have to worry about finding some time at the last minute to take the kids on that trip to Legoland you’d promised them – the day’s been blocked out for months.
Have kids learn about leadership through reading
It’s hard enough to get kids reading these days as it is, what with all the technology that’s second nature to them, let alone getting them to read one of your leadership books. But, they will if there’s something in it for them…
One idea mentioned in the HBR to encourage them to learn about leadership is to get them to curate any notes you’ve made while reading into one document. They probably won’t do it without the promise of something at the end of it, but either way, it’ll help them to understand what leadership is, while helping you to retain what you’ve read.
Talk through real-life dilemmas
As a business leader, every week you’ll be faced with a new dilemma, be it whether to enter into partnership with another business, or which of your two promising employees deserves the promotion.
You might talk about them openly with your partner, but why not bring your kids into the discussion? It’s a chance to talk about values as well as how to handle difficult situations. Plus, the openness and honesty that kids tend to speak with might just bring a fresh perspective to the table.