We’ve all heard the expression ‘work-life balance’ and know how hard it can be for working women to achieve it. I would go further and suggest that in many ways it is a contradiction in terms. The word ‘balance’ implies a kind of equality but I would argue that even when you are a successful career woman, or just on that journey your ambition regarding work and your natural instinct to have a life outside of it can be a major source of stress. Perhaps this can be said of men also, not wishing to imply that all men put work before family and friends etc. But perhaps you would agree that although generalising is mostly NOT a good idea, we can safely say that more women than men find achieving this balance pretty much impossible if their career is managerial rather than solely employee status.
It is often a ‘given’ that male CEOs or male bosses in general, tend to focus on their work rather than what goes on at home or elsewhere firstly because their instinct tells them this is the only way to retain their status and achieve success, but also because in the case of home life, someone else is taking care of it. This sounds like I’m launching that tired old moan about women who choose to stay at home being undervalued (true though it often is) but it is the fact that women possess the skills needed to actually achieve even a wonky version of work-life balance, that seems to go unnoticed. Skills such as empathy and multi-tasking (seemingly engrained in women) are invaluable not only in our personal lives, but also in the boardroom or the office. Being able to understand and acknowledge what makes your staff ‘tick’ is a real talent and vital for working relationships. When multi- tasking comes naturally, it means your mind can handle new information or changes quickly without losing sight of the original task and it is a major asset. Sometimes the quality of being ‘focused’ is a thin disguise for someone who would be better suited to the expression ‘one track minded’ and describes someone to whom even the term multi-tasking is not in their vocabulary!
Life today and beyond is incredibly crowded both physically and mentally. Technology though awe inspiring, requires one to be adept at making the most of it. The rise in population at both ends of our life spans is enormous with increased need for the care of the young and the elderly. The skills needed to maintain a career as well as attend to the aforementioned are essential and at the risk of repeating myself, the ability to multi task is undeniably invaluable.
So here’s my point – if you are a woman who feels that she is less deserving or capable of a high end career because you feel torn between maintaining family life and staying on top at work – STOP! Have a re-think and feel proud of your natural skills, they are essential in both habitats and are the ideal ingredients for a natural leader.