I made the decision to be a working mother long before I started working. Almost two decades before I became a mother.
I had no clue what being a working mother really meant, but I drove forward in my career with that goal in mind. I thought that if I built my experience and reputation, I would be in a position to create a good balance between work and home when the time came.
While I was generally correct in my thinking, I had no idea what any of it would really mean upon becoming a parent.
Like many working parents, I worry that I do not spend enough time with my son. Six years in, I know now that no matter how much time I spent with him, it will never be enough.
The path to leadership is different for everyone. However, no matter how we get there, somewhere along the way we usually have someone that inspired us to leadership. Someone who provided coaching and mentoring that connected to who we are and what we do.
Not always, but a first leadership position frequently involves leading in an area where we have prior experience contributing. For example, I was a project manager before I managed project managers. A call center supervisor may be a former call rep. A school administrator is often a prior teacher.
Due to our prior responsibilities, learning how to be good mentors and coaches to our team members is easier than it would be if we had no common connection. Not to say that developing leadership skills is easy, but it is easier if you had a good mentoring/coaching leader that helped you when you were coming up through the ranks.
As responsibilities increase, not only can the number of resources a leader is responsible for increase, but so can the mix of experience and interests of the team. Suddenly, the advice we received may not be applicable. The advice we want to provide might not be the right fit.
I did some unexpected off-roading last week, as mentioned in a prior post.
On the surface, everything looked fine. I even took the car on a planned road trip to Vermont…several hundred miles of high-speed driving there and back. It drove as I would have expected, so I thought everything must be okay.
As in many things in life, and in work, it was what was going on beneath the surface that was of concern.