My first year as a mom, a single mother by choice, a mom with a decade more under my belt then most new moms and a working mom with a new job after maternity leave ended. That’s a lot of new titles, new balancing and a new voice, a protective mama-bearness, a patience and efficiency and a deep appreciation for all the moms who have come before me. An even deeper appreciation for those who made it look simple but were probably paddling like mad underneath the surface.
What does that mean to me? It means we need to share more about our struggles, our imperfections, our shortcuts or life hacks. We need to stretch out of our comfort zone of saying “I’m fine” and say, “I’ve been there, what do you need”, “let me help” and sometimes, we need to utter the words most of us often dread saying out loud, “I need help.”
What does that look like:
At work, that looks like choosing an employer whose values align with your own. Personally, that meant choosing an employer who made it clear that people were their priority, especially before they were employees and before they were company advocates. Cheer Partners’ culture is that people come first with holistic lives that need tending to - parent or not. This company empowers employees to share when they need extra support or a PJ Day (day off with minimal notice) because there are days that you can’t bring your whole self to work, and that needs to be OK. As a new leader, I’ve told my team - you don’t have to tell me what is going on, but you need to tell me that something is going on, so I can support you. And as an employee, I am appreciative that my company is open and supportive of our whole lives.
At home, that means finding my support system and to me that doesn’t look like “the village” that parenting articles talk about. In fact, I bet many women feel like a failure for not having acquired a “mom tribe” - on top of everything else. That doesn’t mean I am not surrounded by loving family and friends, but it does mean that they have their own lives, schedules and priorities. If I ask, they are there. I think it’s important to find support in other ways, such as: backup childcare for the backup childcare or as I call it, my roster of sitters, and a handyman, who knows that an hour of his skills, can save me hours in frustration. Sometimes, it giving up control to someone else, but if I prioritize what’s important to me and give up a little control, I gain tenfold in peace of mind.
Instead of saying, “I’m fine,” I actually share my frustrating days and when I receive unsolicited advice, I pause to say, “I really just want to vent, could you just listen.” It also means my remembering that the words “that sucks”, “ugh so sorry” are often more appreciated then “have you tried” or “what I did was” or least remembering to ask first - “do you want to hear what I tried?”
In conclusion, in honor of my second Mother’s Day (my son was born a week before the holiday last year), I want to thank all of those who paved the way with your grace, humor, realism, authenticity and love. It has made this journey easier to know we all go through the same thing … whether we admit it or not.
Posted as part of blog series for Cheer Partners, May 2019
“We love happy hour!” “Meetings, meetings, meetings!” “Everyone here is really nice.” “We have a shared vision that we strive to meet every day with our collective thinking and collaborative work.” “We get to work from home every Friday!” “Our results were the highest ever last year… and now, we need to beat them!”
When a job candidate asks your employees; “What is it like to work here?”, would you want them to answer with any of the above statements?
Companies and teams spend a lot of energy and resources building their cultures, which is an important tool to engage colleagues with and further enhances work productivity and brand loyalty. However, when recruiting and interviewing candidates, the cultural fit may be considered and discussed, but often the team that is interviewing has not even proactively discussed what their culture is nor what a cultural fit means to them.
Each of us knew a manager who determined if someone was a cultural fit by asking about their college sports teams and or local hang-out spots. If the person didn’t know the “right” answers, they weren’t someone that, that manager wanted to spend time with and therefore, wouldn’t get the job.
As you begin to fill out job descriptions and interview questions for your next round of hiring, it’s necessary and important to thoughtfully consider what intangibles make up your team’s culture.
• Discuss with your team what are some of the characteristics exhibited by a manager that they have worked with or wish that they had.
• Think about your management style and describe what brings forth best work and efforts.
• What are some of the expectations you will have of senior leaders to have success in the role.
• Do you believe it’s more important to work fast or get the job done right?
• Does your team encourage the use of the team’s energy and effort, the willingness each person has to be a part of a successful campaign or project?
Once you’ve captured who your team is, it will become infinitely easier to identify what characteristics new team members can bring to the table to round out your team.
Co-Authored with Lisa Fedrizzi, Managing Director, Human Resources Advisory and Talent, Cheer Partners
Posted as part of a blog series for Cheer Partners, April 2019