Are Good Parenting and Management Skills Transferable?

Recently, I gave a talk on how to align your life through your time, money, and narrative, to live who you really are as your best self.  An MD who heard the speech contacted me after and said “your talk is really about being a better human being and I think you should talk about being a good parent.” That made me think he missed the entire gist of my speech.  Then, I realized he was giving me a huge compliment!   Thanks to my colleague Kevin Haselhorst, MD! He got me thinking about if good parenting skills and good manager traits are interchangeable.

The short answer:   They are not.

The Basic Contract

The premise of the relationship is very different between parenting and manager. In parenting, you are responsible for a life, the whole life, and all of their lessons in all realms of life to the best of your ability. In managing, you may choose who you work with, sometimes, you do inherit or have staff assigned to you, but there is an economic contract in place. You or the company pay employees for showing up and preforming tasks and producing outcomes.  In turn you provide each person with salary, benefits, a safe work environment and the tools they need to accomplish their job role.

I googled:  Are parenting and managing the same skill set?  I  found an article in Forbes that speaks to traditional leadership and parenting traits you can follow it with this link.  .

Unconditional love is required in parenting, versus providing direction for responsibilities and remuneration for a job.  If as a manager you get to mentor, grow as colleagues and friends, and honor each other that’s great, but it is not the ultimate goal of getting the job done. 

The entire intention of the relationships are different – this is a No.

Honoring Their Path

This is a possible yes and a no. Yes, we want to give direction, set the stage, show our staff how we like it done, give the training, resources and tools they need. As managers, we have to give them room to find their own routines and process while meeting our work expectations. If we micromanage, we may suffocate them.  If we only have them do it our way, and do not let them evolve the position and their role, we are not good stewards of our company. It is the same for a child. We show them how to do something and guide them, but the path they take is ultimately their own and as parents, even though it’s tough, we honor who they are, not who we want them to be or who we thought they would be. As an employer, if they are not performing the job satisfactorily, we can mentor, provide more training, discipline, but ultimately, we need what we need to get the job done. If an employee is not fulfilling the economic contract, we can part ways.

Getting the work done the way it needs to get done, vs. letting your child become who they are supposed to be – this is a No.



I still struggle with patience after years of working in fast-paced environments.  I learned much more about the virtue of patience from parenting than managing. In both situations, there is an end to patience. Depending on the amount of time and energy it takes as a Boss, you do not have to accept it. As a parent what are our options?  Feel free to comment on your approach – basically it depends heavily on the situation and the child. 

Different approaches, especially in personal situations – this is a No. 

Run a Good Meeting

As a boss, particularly of a larger team or a leadership team, this is critical.  Giving everyone enough information so they can be on the same page with you. Your ability to run a meeting fairly so all opinions and relevant data are heard and can be channeled appropriately. Like a parent, in my meetings I always make sure there is time to celebrate milestones and that there is a lesson or advice imparted.

I believe family meetings are critical. In this day and age before young children have a “smart device” it is important to have family meetings. This is different than family dinner.  It can take place at any meal you are all together.  As appropriate include other members, such as a grandmother or caretaker who spend a lot of time in your household.  Understanding schedules, priorities and anything that will impact the family dynamic over the next few weeks are good topics for discussion. My daughter loved family meetings, she would take notes and send follow-ups to me – it was great training on being responsible and communicating.

The same values hold for both meetings – this is a Yes.


What’s Next:

Take a shot at applying what you do well at work, at home and vice versa. See what resonates with your team and what you feel intuitively good about. Repeat daily.



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