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Whether you are a man or a woman, you probably owe a lot to your mother. Mothers can be an incredibly formative presence. My own mother was a math teacher and encouraged me every step of the way – leading almost directly to the career path I have chosen.
Today, as a mother myself, I can only hope I’m able to be as helpful to my own daughters. Certainly, I think I can provide some good role-modeling – and maybe some direct advice from my years in IT.
Speaking of which, Computerworld recently took their own stab at remembering mothers and recognizing the growing role of women in IT with a feature, “tales and tips from the IT trenches,” that included some of my thoughts on balancing work and family. As I note in the piece, the family side of the equation is not only incredibly important, it really does inform the career side and can provide depth and wisdom applicable in many business situations.
I have found that word choice matters a lot to children and it does to adults too, but sometimes we overlook that. If you hand a 3-year-old a cup of milk, you may want to say, "Don’t spill it." However, that makes a child focus on the "spilling" as opposed to focusing on the behavior you want to see. It works better to tell a child to keep two hands on the cup and hold it carefully. The point is not that one must develop an overly directive leadership style. Rather, being a mother has taught me how to focus on the outcomes that are best for everyone and on helping people achieve their goals in the context of the good of the whole company.
For active and involved parents it isn’t about family or career – it is about both. There is no such thing as work-life balance, it's a constant juggling act. So, here’s to mothers everywhere – the people that so often commit to doing things well and doing things right! Those are lessons worth revisiting and taking to heart.
Karen Tegan Padir is the president of the Application Development and Deployment Business Unit at Progress, reporting to President and Chief Executive Officer Phil Pead. Padir, a 20-year software industry veteran, is responsible for the strategy and growth of Progress application development assets including Telerik, Modulus, Rollbase and the Pacific Platform.
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