Study: Improved Work Performance Among Parents

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<p><strong>Greensboro, N.C. &mdash; April 3</strong><br />Being a committed parent can enhance managerial ability because child-rearing develops skills that are useful at work, according to a new study by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and Clark University.<br /><br />The study, published in the <em>Journal of Applied Psychology</em>, contradicts conventional wisdom that parents are easily distracted by their responsibilities at home &mdash; particular ly their children &mdash; and, therefore, are more likely to be ineffective at work. </p><p>The article was co-authored by Dr. Laura Graves,&nbsp; Clark University associate professor of management; Dr. Marian Ruderman, CCL research director; and Patricia Ohlott, formerly of CCL and now at the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning.<br /><br />&ldquo;Based on previous research, we were fairly confident that our study would confirm that being committed to family increases a person&rsquo;s overall well-being,&quot; Ruderman said. &quot;But our study shows, for the first time, that being a committed parent can improve a manager&rsquo;s work performance.</p><p>&ldquo;Raising a family helps develop skills such as negotiating, compromising, conflict resolution and multitasking, which are important traits of successful managers.&rdquo;<br /><br />The study&rsquo;s objectives were to determine how managers&rsquo; commitments to marriage, children or both affected their life satisfaction, career satisfaction and work performance. </p><p>In addition, the study looked at whether commitment to marriage and children reduced the physical and emotional resources managers could devote to work or actually expanded managers&rsquo; abilities to meet the demands of their jobs.&nbsp; </p><p>Among the 347 respondents, 221 were parents. Almost all the respondents (91 percent) were married.<br /><br />Being able to manage the demands of children and running a household helps respondents better manage the stress of work instead of adding to it, Graves said. </p><p>&ldquo;Family experiences provide managers with positive feelings that carry over to the workplace and facilitate performance,&quot; she said. &quot;They also help managers develop the ability to see others&rsquo; views &mdash; a capacity which is critical to supervising others, working in teams or relating to superiors. </p><p>&ldquo;Our study has important implications for employees and organizations alike. While many organizations have adopted family-friendly policies, most still operate under the assumption that a family focus will detract from performance. Our research suggests that this assumption is wrong. In fact, a family-focused manager may be, in fact, the leader your company should have.&rdquo;<br /><br />The study&rsquo;s findings were based on respondents&rsquo; personal evaluations of their life and career satisfaction. </p><p>Work performance was determined by feedback from the respondents&rsquo; bosses, superiors, peers, direct reports and other colleagues. <br /></p>

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