Lessons for Work and Motherhood

Are you following the editorials Sheryl Sandberg is writing in the New York Times? If not, you should.

In her most recent editorial, Madam C.E.O., Get Me a Coffee Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant address women doing what they call the “Office Housework” and the impacts to individual careers and team effectiveness.

Overall what strikes me is Sandberg and Grant don’t place the blame on any one group and don’t excuse anyone’s choices that lead to the phenomenon they discuss. Instead they make the case for change, talk about the areas women as individuals can address and finish with suggestions on how we can work together to move toward improved individual and team performance.

Following are the points that struck a chord for me:

By putting self-concern on par with concern for others, women may feel less altruistic, but they’re able to gain more influence and sustain more energy. Ultimately, they can actually give more. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I work to balance everything (and everyone) competing for my time and attention. Life is too complex for my current, simplistic strategy of pushing harder until the next break comes. It’s time for a change.

Just as we still need to rebalance housework and child care at home, we also need to equalize and value office housework. This means first acknowledging the imbalance and then correcting it. I need to pay attention and stop automatically jumping up to help. There are almost always plenty of people to help out. I need to be discerning and think critically about who is the best person to fill a need.

The person taking diligent notes in the meeting almost never makes the killer point. I need to remember there are times its important I’m available to “make the killer point.”

Research shows that teams with greater helping behavior attain greater profitssalesqualityeffectivenessrevenue and customer satisfaction. As I mentioned in a post a couple weeks ago, I have a home team and a work team. When both are running smoothly it feels great and produces energy. That’s why I’m going to spend energy on making the changes in my approach so I can lead toward the change I want to experience for myself and for the people around me.

2 thoughts on “Lessons for Work and Motherhood

  1. Well said! I especially like the point about the one taking notes rarely makes the killer point. And I’ve yet to see a man take the notes in any meeting.

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