Must children lack parental attention because their parents lead a global agency? This is the situation many CEOs have found themselves in. Some handle it with eyebrow-raising strategies. Elon Musk confesses to dividing his time between work and his five children. He does so in a way that even around them, he could be replying emails. That might be an odd way to parent children but for the CEO of many companies, that is his coping mechanism.
Pepsi’s CEO, Indra Nooyi copes with the dilemma by facing her truth: she can’t always be there for her daughter. Sometimes, her daughter complains about her absence at parent meetings. Then, she fires back with a list of other parents who were absent too.
But there must be a better way to raise children, even if you hold a top position in a Fortune 500 organization. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. The methods that work in my family may not be suitable for yours. Yet the fundamental principles remain the same. The good thing is, if you head a multinational agency, you probably already know how to be a good parent.
In balancing my time between work and family, here are some lessons I’ve learned. I have gleaned from the parenting strategies of top executives, and I do my best to uphold them.
Spend time with your kids
This is something CEOs find hard to do. But, whichever way you put it, nothing is better than spending quality time with your children. For a CEO, there’s not plenty of free time to go round, but if you want to be a great parent too, which you have an opportunity to be, you have to create time for family.
Dan Glaser, of Marsh & McLennan Cos., decided on a different parenting approach. That was after he had had his last daughter of three. He moved to New York City to be closer to her and began making himself available for her sporting events. He sacrificed some work time for this, but gained much more satisfaction.
Communication is key
Often, many parents make parenting mistakes. They assume that spending “time” with their children is enough. But what is “time” with your kids if it is not valuable. Family time should not be a monotonous series of activities. It should be a time everyone in the family looks forward to.
Maintaining consistent communication with your children also makes them more likely to obey you. And that brings me to the next point, which is one of the hardest things for any parent, not just CEOs.
Controlling your children
There is no hiding the fact that parenting and heading a company is as difficult as it can get. For people like Kate Torgensen, the Founder of Milk Stork, they are able to find a ‘balance’. She admits that motherhood alongside work left her physically and emotionally strained. Yet, she determined that “there is no ‘off’ switch for either.'” Also, she claims that motherhood helped her find her career purpose.
In all, everyone is free to do what works for them, whether finding a balance or quitting. But I ensure that my family holds a prime position in whatever decision I make.