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Cathy James on leadership: Be authentic and don’t think you must have all the answers

7 Mins read

Cathy James of the Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York chapter, answers interview questions in 2019 during one of the chapter’s annual caregiving conferences. Purple is the signature color of the Alzheimer’s Association. During June, James hopes to see people wear purple and social media turn purple.Courtesy Alzheimer’s Association June […]

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I Feel Like I Am Being Their Dad Rather Than Just a Parent

The wall of tradition is coming to an end, and millennials have cemented and taken on the mantle of gender equality. Fathers in general are more involved in their children’s lives more than ever before, and now with the pandemic even more so. And they like it.

But women still carry out more of the responsibilities at home. Women still do more housework than men even if they earn more money than their husband. The scales of society rules are still tipped in man’s favor, but equality is in the pipeline.

Simple things like not having to be in the office meant not having to be out the door before the kids woke up.

Not having to do all that has allowed me time to have breakfast with the kids, which is something really small. But now, I couldn’t think of not doing that.

It allowed my wife to be more relaxed going to work, knowing that the kids were being looked after.

I Feel Like I Am Being Their Dad Rather Than Just a Parent
Fathers in general are more involved in their children’s lives more than ever before. And they like it. Photograph: iStock

For many dads who may miss going to the office, being present in the family life “certainly outweighs” the rat race. This is what has always saw us struggling to get to the office for 8am.

A dad said, “the kids are enjoying having me around and I am enjoying being there and being more available for my family. These days, I am 100 per cent happier as a person and as a father. I feel sad in a way. And that is because I wasn’t around far more earlier in my kids life, when they were younger.

Giving individuals control over how to work boosts motivation. It allows them to produce quality work, and encourages a strong work-life balance.

You may also like; Define Worklife and Work-life Balance

Remote Work Experts Eikenberry and Turmel Discuss How to Nurture Virtual Teams

Wayne Turmel and Kevin Eikenberry in their new book, The Long Distance Teammate: Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere, discuss what we can all do to help, to keep flourishing relationships, and maintain connections with our remote teammates.

There is a difference between somebody who’s just on the team and someone who’s a teammate. 

Team members, think of productivity, getting the right work done at the right time.

Real teammates build connections and support the team. Teammates also work and think proactively. They get things done without being asked, using discretionary effort. They reach out when it is not them that have a question; but when it is somebody else that needs help. Also, they also consider the impact of their communication and actions on the relationship they are having with other teammates over time. To them, my job is my work plus the team’s work.

To them, my job is my work plus the team’s work.

Prior to now, a lot of our challenges communicating clearly were overcome by the fact that we were in physical proximity. And we got by, using a lot of visual and nonverbal cues that helped even the most obtuse of us figure stuff out. But that is changing, especially with remote working and the new hybrid working model. However, when team work suffers, we all share in the pain and loss, individually and collectively as an organization.

Top Bosses Surprising Thoughts On The New Future of Work

The pandemic acted as a catalyst for change. As a result, every organisation had to transition quickly and we all had to climb a steep learning curve. From working remotely, restructuring the workplace, redefining job roles, and then having reimagined workplace culture.

The benefits of working from home included quick access to fridge, pets on demand and a ‘relaxed’ dress code.

Michele Romanow, Clearco co-Founder & President

It’s been an exceptional year for e-commerce companies. I didn’t believe that a company could ever be as productive and grow with home-based workers. And in the long term, this will be a huge win for women in the workforce and flexi-working.

Sonja Gittens-Ottley, Asana Head of Diversity and Inclusion

The rapid shift to remote work caused a rise in self-doubt, resulting in an increase in poor mental wellbeing among employees. No matter which model you find yourself working in, make sure your boss sets clear expectations. Your organization should also have the right tools in place to create transparency around workloads and how work is distributed.

Sergei Anikin, Pipedrive co-CEO and CTO

To support hybrid working, businesses must establish how they will create a sense of belonging across the organisation, no matter where their team is located. Companies that will retain and further build their talent pool will focus on their winning company culture.

Stuart Templeton, Slack Head of UK

Giving individuals control over how to work boosts motivation. It allows them to produce quality work, and encourages a strong work-life balance


A Blueprint For Designing Hybrid Work Policies

Shifting to remote work should not be the only focus of work redesign. A policy declaring that people must work remotely, or even one saying they can work whenever and wherever they want can have issues. It can easily become pressure to work longer hours and be available 24/7—leading to burnout over time. 

Research Outcome

There are two important elements of the initiative studied by Erin L. Kelly and Phyllis Moen. They are; training managers to shift how they approached their roles and how they can help their teams to identify and reduce low-value work.

First, managers need to express support of employees’ personal lives and to clearly articulate performance goals and expectations. This help managers to focus on monitoring results rather than “face time” at the office. 

Secondly, structured team discussions helped overloaded employees identify changes they could make as individuals and teams. This work redesign approach ultimately changed everyday work practices. Such as, reducing the number of meetings or the number of people required to attend them, and increasing the ability to work remotely. It also help with the identification of low-value work that teams can reduce and still hold work hours steady.


These changes improved well-being and work/life integration for employees and managers. There was an increase in job satisfaction, and the company benefited from reduced costs associated with turnover among valuable employees.

But such benefits arise only when employees feel they can choose where and when they work – not by mandating some particular mix of remote and in-office work. It is also critical that managers and coworkers respect workers’ personal and family situations. In other words, the benefits documented come not from a policy allowing remote work per se, but from gaining a sense of control and support.

No One Size Fits All

The exact mix or blend of remote and in-office work may depend on the work being done and the personal lives of the workforce, but working at home exclusively only works well for some employees and roles. However, the research shows that having some say in when, where, and how they work is highly valued by many employees, and can be good for a company’s bottom line.

Next Steps

The work redesign approach deployed in this study did not set up formal policies laying out how much time was expected in the office. It does not also require individuals to get permission from their managers to work from home. Instead, it encourages regular conversations about how people hoped to work and how the team could coordinate to do its best work. Thereby, setting the stage for adaptable and customized ways of working.

This is the perfect moment to launch a work redesign initiative like the one researched. This can be done by inviting teams to discuss and learn from how they adapted during the pandemic and how they struggled, and to imagine what might work well for them. Erin and Phyllis created free training resources from their study, including a facilitator’s guide to implementing this kind of work redesign program.

Erin L. Kelly is the Sloan distinguished professor of work and organization studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Phyllis Moen holds the McKnight endowed presidential chair in sociology at the University of Minnesota. They are the authors of Overload: How Good Jobs Went Bad and What We Can Do About It.


When Employees Design Work Of The Future

Emotional stress, including “stress from lack of control in the workplace or from life events,” creates susceptibility to physical illness. This was affirmed twenty years ago in a British Medical Journal article as summarized here by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Giving employees more control over their jobs does more than just reduce stress-related illness. It also decreases employee mortality. The key is empowering them to set their own goals, set their own schedules, prioritize their decision making and … have a voice in the goal-setting process.

Giving employees a chance to help shape the future of work will give them more skin in the game. It will deepen their connection to an organization. Finally, it gives them a sense of job ownership and control and will improve their well-being while benefiting the organization.


How to Create the Life and Career You Want With Self-Love

Self-love is the process of knowing yourself, connecting with your inner self, overcoming self-limiting beliefs, letting go of everything that doesn’t serve you, and falling in love with yourself.

Self-love helps silence the fear of rejection, our inner critic, and instead befriend it to serve us rather than taunt us. And we develop confidence in what we stand for, when we know who we are from within. With self-love, we are able to let go of self-judgment, negative thoughts, opinions, and people who are not aligned with us.

When we accept ourselves wholly for who we are, people around us also start seeing us in the same light. Likewise, when we love what we do and do what we love, we are alive and soaring in all that we do. This further draws others with positive energy to us. Ultimately, that power of love for yourself, will not only elevate your relationship with yourself, but enhance and deepen your relationship with work, family, life, and everything around you.

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