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Knowing how to balance a leadership career with raising a young family can often feel like the quest for the holy grail. That’s why so many working parents feel that they have to choose between being a present parent or having a successful career and why so many talented professionals, women in particular, drop off the leadership pipeline after having had children.
But achieving this balance doesn’t have to be a thing of myth. The Leaders Plus Fellowship is specifically designed to support ambitious parents carve out brave new ways of being a parent and leader.
Here, some of our Leaders Plus Fellowship Mentors offer their advice on what has genuinely helped them to forge a successful career whilst enjoying their families.
TPP Recruitment’s very own COO, Tracey George, talks about the importance of flexible support at home to help face the ever-changing landscape of parenting. “Focus on making your support structures as flexible and agile as possible and adopt that mindset yourself too,” says Tracey. She also encourages you to be open with your managers about what challenges you’re facing especially if they do not have a young family of their own. “Prepare your employer for the ever-evolving journey you are embarking on as a parent - everything changes… all of the time!”
Jo Mosley, HR Director for the Salvation Army highlights the responsibility of business leaders to pave the way for employees by being honest about their own challenges. Reflecting on her own journey to leadership she says, “My biggest learning point as a leader and a parent is that it is our duty to be open and authentic about the realities of juggling our work and home lives so no one else feels unable to be honest and open when they are struggling.”
Dominic Holmes, Partner and Head of Employment Law at Taylor Vinters LLP believes strongly in the importance of equality of opportunity in the workplace for everyone, regardless of social background, family responsibilities or any other characteristics or personal circumstances. For him, staying true to your professional and personal values is key to success as a working parent. “Be clear on what you really value, as this will drive everything else that you do.”
To hear more from Dominic on the importance of values as well as how to work part-time in a senior client-facing role, listen to his Leaders With Babies podcast interview.
We’ve probably all felt a tinge of self-doubt or ‘Imposter Syndrome’ at some point in our working lives, but when it comes to forging a leadership career whilst being a present parent, it’s important to address these feelings if you want to be content at both. Knowing that you’re probably not alone can relieve some of that pressure, says Sarah Atkinson, Chief Executive of The Social Mobility Foundation. “Are you looking at everybody, thinking that they have it nailed while you feel so inadequate?” she asks. “They are all looking at you, thinking that you have it nailed while they feel so inadequate.”
Last but by no means least, nurturing a career and young family can only happen if we’re also nurturing ourselves. As Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, Kate Henderson advises, “Managing a leadership career and young family takes a lot of energy so make sure you look after yourself and take time to recharge.” After all, you can’t possibly perform well if you’re running on empty.
Leaders Plus Fellowship Programme
The Leaders Plus Fellowship is a 9-month programme specially designed to support working parents to stay on the leadership pipeline whilst enjoying their young families. Fellows have access to a senior leader mentor, a supportive group of like-minded peers, and baby-friendly, online workshops to support you in your career development as a working parent.