'We should talk more about what it's really like. Being a good parent and being a good leader. How hard it is.' Whenever I get questions about how I combine work and family, I get annoyed. This quote however is from a man. Luc Lallemand, CEO at Infrabel shared it at a panel discussion I joined recently at the Brussels Chamber of Commerce BECI.
As a divorced father to 2 girls that live with him almost permanently, he opened up and shared his personal story. About how it often is impossible to combine kids and a top career.
I thought about quitting as a CEO. But I didn't. Now my girls are grown up and we have a good relationship. I do call upon all men taking up their role as committed dads to speak more openly about it.
You can't be what you can't see
If you are such a leader, we will happily share your story here as well. We need more male role models to speak up. Being a committed father should be the new normal. Just as being an ambitious woman should be the new normal. Yes, we still need more female role models in leadership positions. Did you know that Gregor Chapelle, CEO at Actiris, refuses all invitations for #allmalepanels ? Why don't you act today and do the same?
Committed dads are a very important driver for getting more #inclusiveleadership. I meet more and more of them across organizations we support on their journey towards inclusive leadership. Especially young dads in the 25-35 age group take their role seriously at work, and at home. When women and men speak up, real change is about to happen. As Paul Frampton, CEO of Havas Media puts it 'I think you become a better leader by being a better father and you become a better father by being a good leader. It’s about being aware of the people around you. The ‘either-or’, old school leader compartmentalises work and home. They are task, not people focused.'
Smart companies not only recognize that but also facilitate inclusive leadership
Fix the blind spots and identify the accelerating or blocking factors for your greatest talents to take on leadership roles. You can introduce flexible working hours, install parental leave for both parents, lead by example and have a 'no meetings after 5 pm' rule or come up with your own solution that fits your employees. If you don't take action now, talented people will leave your organization. By 2023, for every 2 people leaving the job market for retirement, only 1 youngster will start their first job.
The war for talent is now. So you better get to work.
Make sure your company is the preferred one to work and lead, for both men and women with ambition. Just take the next step. We are here to help you. Book a keynote, workshop or a tailor made journey towards inclusive leadership here. Or discover more examples in #whoruntheworld, the book I published recently with Tine Maenhout, also available as e-book here.
Elke Jeurissen, Founder Fierce Ladies
P.S. More inspiration in the blog Being Dads by Paul Frampton, CEO at Havas Media Group