When COVID-19 hit in March and the nation announced that we were under a global pandemic, I was in complete shock. School was canceled until further notice. I have 4 children and my husband and I had to figure out how we were going to homeschool our children virtually to ensure they finish the school year strong. They couldn’t see their friends. No more extracurricular activities at school. No more community events. No family vacations. No traveling. My children were unhappy about all the changes that were taking place and expressed it daily. They didn’t want to be isolated, but they understood that this was the way for them to be safe and protected.
Then George Floyd got killed face down on the asphalt in downtown Minneapolis as a police officer pushed his knee on his neck as he gasps for air and begged for his life. His death caused outrage and anguish all throughout the world due to racism and the injustices in America and people were so angry. As COVID-19 and racism raged globally, I knew as a woman leader I have to act strategically and plan how to lead my family through this crisis and uncertain times.
Leadership is helping people within a company or organization to grow and develop as leaders. People are trusting a particular person(s) to lead them to become the best version of themselves and achieve success. Parenting is raising your children with good morals and values to lead themselves to be the best they can be as they grow to become adults. Leadership and parenting are identical. You have to treat the people around you at work the same way you would treat your children at home. Show them that you care, love each other, and give respect.
There are four main leadership qualities that I applied to parenting during this crisis. Let’s talk about it:
In leadership, it is so important to listen to others around you. Team members may have concerns in the workplace that needs to be addressed and want to express their opinions. Maybe they have an idea for the next company project or a company initiative they want to adapt within the community. They want to be heard. Leaders have to listen with empathy and put themselves into the situation to see how the other person feels. Maybe they are not doing their quality of work due to personal issues or they are having issues with someone in the workplace. Whatever the situation is, as leaders we have to listen with feeling and meaning. Listening with empathy doesn’t mean you agree with what the person is telling you, but it gives you an understanding of why it’s happening.
As parents, we have to take the time to listen to our children as well. My husband and I had conversations about racism, civil rights leaders, and coronavirus during this crisis. My children read articles, news stories and also watch television which shows all that’s happening globally. They were asking questions every day to understand and process it all. They wanted to know what they can do to help. As a mother, I decided to have those tough conversations with my children for them to express themselves about what they see and how they feel. I sat down and listened to them. Children all over the world are being affected during this crisis. Everybody wants to be heard and listened to.
At work, time management is a big component of getting tasks and projects completed by the deadline as well as spending quality time developing and coaching my team and clients. I have a calendar set up to manage my leadership coaching sessions, set up meetings, and virtual conferences to help manage my time.
At home during the crisis, I set up a time management system and a workflow process to have a specific time for meditation, exercise, breakfast, lunch and dinner time, virtual academic learning, taking breaks, work, leisure time, reading time, date night and self-care. We needed to have structure in the household being that life was now being lockdown at home. Good time management helps you to work smarter not harder, helps to prioritize all the work that needs to be done on a daily basis, and focus on one task at a time. Time management is needed to balance work and home life.
The essence of leadership is the ability to inspire others to work together as a team. In leadership, I can’t expect to do everything on my own to obtain the results I need. Teamwork provides multiple perspectives on how to meet a need or reach a goal. Teamwork is implemented through projects, hitting targets, company initiatives, tasks, and goal planning. Your team has to be a part of the decisions being made for the company, organization, or business. We are all in this together.
During this crisis, my family and I had to establish teamwork at home. I had conversations with my children and explained to them that we are going to get through this crisis. My children contributed to decisions within the household, from getting through virtual learning, dinner plans for the week to at home weekend plans for family fun. It was exciting and they were happy to be included in the decision-making process.
Praise and Recognition
In leadership, I have to acknowledge my team members for their hard work and dedication. When you take the time out to let your team feel empowered and appreciated, it makes them feel good about themselves and happy to come to work to contribute individually or as a team.
As a parent, I acknowledge when my children are good at home or school. This gives them the confidence they need to keep working hard and motivate positive actions. Sometimes just simply saying “Thank you” to a team member or your child goes a long way.
I am happy to share how leadership and parenting has inspired me to become a woman leader to others in the workplace as well as a mother of four beautiful children. I continue to learn and grow every day so I can add value to myself and value to others.
Najiva Timothee is the CEO/Founder of The Consult Table. She specializes in leadership development and performance management. Najiva serves and supports her clients to fulfill their potential so they can lead with purpose and meaning. She is also a certified leadership coach with The John Maxwell Team.