What does the former head of state say about reconciling work and family life?
When I interviewed former Icelandic head of state Vigdis Finnbogadóttir some time ago, my first question was therefore about reconciling work and family.
For Finnbogadóttir is something like a pioneer in this regard: 1980 was democratically elected as the world's first woman in her office - and she was a convalescent mother.
Seek help instead of political demands
The answer was somewhat unsatisfactory: No political demands, no financing proposals for childcare, Ms. Finnbogadóttir simply said: "I was looking for help." And: “Women have to be more confident!”
Both are connected. Only those who have confidence in themselves can ask others for help at all. Frequently, women fear that they are lacking in self-confidence, and help-seeking is interpreted as a weakness.
Or they are afraid to transfer tasks to others who will not do the job just as well. Or vice versa: you want to show that you can't do without them. For such reasons, quite a few women break down on a seemingly superhuman workload.
And even more: In their book “Lust für Macht” the authors Andrea Och and Katharina Daniels criticize that women all too often are not aware of their own strengths and even often associate power negatively.
Plea for more self-confidence in women
The fact that power is also positive and, for example, means more personal freedom is a way of thinking, which is slow in the mind.
Vigdis Finnbogadóttir confirms this: they first had to persuade her to be elected president - an office she held for 16 years.
Power can also be positive
More power, however, does not mean that women always get through. Much more is also good contacts and networks important.
“Women have to cooperate,” Vigdis Finnbogadóttir emphasizes clearly. Her own daughter is a mother herself today, she says.
Stay more often
And shares child-rearing with the husband. “The little one is in the daycare, both have a full-time job; if one has to work longer, the other steps in. ” You can see it that calmly!
Speaking of serenity: In Dublin I spoke to the sales director of Google Ireland about her workflow. What came out were some exciting statements about time management.
How do you do it all?
"No time for nothing, how can you do it all" - this is the way many people think who spin in everyday hamster wheels. What is often forgotten is that what we do is always the result of our own conscious decision. That even applies to our stress level: Because we decide how much work we let others put on us and when we say “No”.
In Dublin, I recently interviewed the Sales Director of Google Ireland - one Company, which is known for highest efficiency and performance. Anyone who thinks Google employees are basically just sleeping workaholics with 16-hour days is wrong.
Whoever switches off works better
Fionnuala Meehan has been left out. Every day after 8 hours around 16 or 17 clock at the end of the day: Dinner with her husband and the three children belong to their fixed daily rituals. She rarely takes her home with her, but at most she still makes phone calls from home. And she seldom sleeps less than seven hours a night.
How do you manage not to be live around the clock in a leadership position in this company? Meehan has a simple explanation: she has set priorities and decided. “The colleagues accept that because I communicate it to them just as clearly. Because only when I switch off can I fully concentrate on work in the office, ”says Meehan.
Leisure without colleagues
Shutting down, that means work-free weekends, regular holidays and a free time that she deliberately does not spend with colleagues. Only then, says Meehan, can it also meet the high demands that the company places on them. As is so often the case, less is more - especially in time management:
To keep the city hectic in the hamster wheel, we should just pause more often and ask ourselves: What is the goal? Is this task really so urgent and important? Do we have to do it now? Or can we give it to someone else? Quiet thinking and purposeful decision making can be so much stress unnecessary.
With passion and enthusiasm
I also interviewed Krystel Blondeau in Paris. As general manager of Europe's largest hotel cooperation, Logis, she looks after 2600 hotels - and six children. How does she do it? What impressed me about Krystel Blondeau is the passion and enthusiasm with which she does her job. And that is exactly what she gives women as a tip: just be enthusiastic about what you are doing, do not constantly question yourself, just do it.
This is the only way to cope with an appropriate day-to-day life: at six, the children are brought to school, at nine they are at work, sometimes they read eMails beforehand. Sometimes she is up to twelve hours in the office, in the evening her second working day begins at home. She does not come to bed before midnight. To balance, she makes yoga or goes to the gym, sometimes she works at home.
The children are a matter of course in everyday life
Questions about their daily routine are astonishing: In France, the quota with 40 percent of women in board members up to 2017 has long been decided, already the nursery goes until seven at night. It is a different culture in which the children are much more self-assured in everyday life.
This can also be seen in the fact that Blondeau communicates constantly with her children even at work: "I don't want to spend a day without my children, but it is also important that they were together with their peers in kindergarten, for example," says she.
Way with perfectionism
“The needs of the children come first, a perfectly tidy apartment is not that important.” There is no question that her husband, who also works full-time, helps with the household. In general, according to the manager, support at home and through her team in the job is extremely important. "Women always have to be twice as good," she regrets.
This energy is probably Krystel Blondeau's secret to success: the noticeable passion for everything she does. “I have always given my full commitment because I enjoy doing my job,” she explains. "This has given me respect and the freedom to make decisions."
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