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BY Tejal Daftary

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Stepping into motherhood is an experience for many women. I was no different. But what really got me into the parenting groove is the fact that I had already played a similar role in my work life. And that’s when I got to thinking about how similar the two are. Parenting & Team Management. Honestly, neither is easy!
People tend to say, “Hey, you are not the first woman to become a mother. The child is bound to grow naturally.” Yes, I agree. But shaping the child in a way that you want does require a fair amount of time and effort. This is so similar to grooming a team at the workplace. Yes, it does call for a fair amount of work, but it also leaves you with a feel-good sensation, and with an overall feeling of satisfaction. Plunging into entrepreneurship and managing a team for over ten years has taught me quite a bit. Furthermore, the process of nurturing my child and watching her grow has also given me hands-on learnings. This process of imbibing lessons from both experiences, has made me a better person. Applying the essence from both, to build the base for both my babies, has left me with valuable life lessons. Please allow me to quickly run you through them.

1. Listen to them. Whether it is the spoken word or body language, your child and your team are both trying to tell you something. Observe them and help them express themselves. They could be seeking guidance or might want to just share something that is bothering them. Be proactive, ask them questions, and make them feel comfortable enough to start a conversation. Involve them in important discussions. Let them know that their voice matters.
2. Feedback is an integral part of growth. I encourage my team to offer constant feedback, just as I observe my child’s likes and dislikes, and plan accordingly. Step into their shoes and make an effort to understand it from their point of view.
3. Set up a harmonious environment, whether it is at the home or the office. A child spends most of the time at home, just as a colleague does at the workplace. A space with positive vibes is extremely important, making one feel calm and welcome.
4. The importance of discipline, maintaining systems and schedules can never be undermined. Following processes can only streamline operations, thus making way for a seamless work and home environment.
5. Never forget that both, your baby as well as your team members are individuals first. Allow them the freedom to work in their personal style (as long as it is within well-defined boundaries). Hand-hold them when needed, and let them flourish in their own way.
6. Be a leader, not a boss. To guide someone, one should first understand the situation and be able to do it oneself. Without a hands-on experience, it is only theory. Do not get flustered at any point, but rather keep your calm and offer to help. Always be there for them, your child and your team. But also point out when they are wrong. This immediate correction will only help them blossom.
7. Trust your team. To bring out the best in them, I encourage my team to get innovative, experiment, and take calculated risks. At all times, I assure the team that I will always have their back.
In closing, be it your baby or your team, always remember, they are both looking up to you. How you handle them will go a long way. Look at this as an opportunity to do your bit, in creating a beautiful, sensitive tomorrow. Learning never stops and is a two-way process. Grow together and be there for each other.

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