5 reasons why being a parent makes you a better leader
Yahoo! The fact that Marissa Mayer has been appointed CEO of a tech giant while pregnant means a lot for Silicon Valley and this country in general. It means a lot for how women are seen here. But, come on. It means a lot for men, too. And parents in general. And while everybody talks about women in tech, I think the real issue is the fact that being a parent while in a leadership position under 40 is considered to be totally weird in this culture. As the founder of Watchup, an early-stage bootstrapped startup, every single time I mention the fact that I have two kids, I see my interlocutors becoming extremely surprised. How is that possible?, they would ask.
Well, I believe that being a parent actually does help you become a *better* leader. And that is true both if you are a startup founder or an executive of a big company. Here’s why in five tweets #leaderANDparent:
Leaders are humans. As such, they not only have the right to procreate but this is actually in their inner nature. Procreating means bringing people to life. And life is energy. Who needs more energy than a leader?
Moms and dads are all managers of their family, or “cofounders” if you wish. As such, they need to set rules, negotiate, reward, sanction, be responsible and deliver. Isn’t home the best school of management?
Every startup founder or executive knows that the moments when you get on stage and deliver a perfect pitch in front of 1,000 clapping people are just about 0.00001% of your time. The rest is all about getting the sh$&€ done. And so when you have one of those über hard days and you get home and spend some time playing (or cooking) with your kids… yes, you feel so much better.
Dropping them off in the morning. Brushing their teeth at night etc. OK this is time you have to devote to them but this is actually a good way to improve your organizational skills.
Overall, spending time with children makes you a better person. You realize that you’re not alone in the world, that your problems are so damn relative when you think about the magic of them growing up and it keeps your brain fresh, creative and naive while you also improve your sense of humor. (Otherwise, you didn’t get parenthood).
Of course, there might be setbacks and difficult moments too in the life of a parent, but I would argue that these are actually all extremely useful too as you grow as a leader. Beyond Marissa Mayer’s own skills and vision, I’m sure that Yahoo! has done a good bet for an energetic, curious and well organized CEO who will be soon #leaderANDparent, too. Let’s hope that one day this won’t be news anymore.
Adriano Farano is CEO and cofounder of Watchup, an iPad app that lets you create your personal newsreel out of the best news channels. He is the father of Lorenzo, 4, and Chiara, 2. They can both use the app, so you should try it out too.