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Parenting Is Like Entrepreneurship, You Need Leadership Skill On Your Resume

When Supriya started out, she assumed it would be a smooth ride and that is why she accepted that position. She thought she could steer the organization towards excellence, always be ahead, plan 6 months ahead, invest in critical thinking skills and focus on product innovation to stay ahead of market.

As Supriya sat down for her much-needed cup of tea, she remembered this was the third time she was reheating it since the morning.

She really needed that break to have a steaming hot cup of caffeine coursing through her nose and veins. The whole point was to grab a moment of peace to be with herself and not rush through like her otherwise cold, leftover meals and snacks.

Supriya was a super busy person. A few years ago, she would never have thought she could take care of such a big project. But here she was in the helm and in-charge of things.

Necessity gives birth to leaders

Necessity had thrown her to accept leadership of the enterprise, and people always needed her to make decisions and be hands-on. But it wasn’t always so.

When she started out, she assumed it would be a smooth ride and that is why she accepted that position. She thought she could hire capable employees who would help and be her support system.

She thought she could steer the organization towards excellence, always be ahead, plan 6 months ahead, invest in critical thinking skills and focus on product innovation to stay ahead of market.

Then pandemic happened

But the reality was different. As any start-up does, she struggled to find good employees. Then the pandemic hit. She was all by herself except for a few board members who could support but certainly not stand-in for her co-founder who was travelling.

But business was budding and could not be ignored due to lack of employees. It came up with new ideas and amazing experiences every day as they shaped their products.

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It was also challenging.

The business needed her all the time. Slowly, from a capable business leader running an enterprise, she became a single-handed co-founder struggling to stay afloat. She cut her budgets for leadership and invested more and more in product development.

Like other new businesses during the pandemic, resources suffered, and innovation started taking a hit. Eventually they were so stretched that she would just get the job done. However, her board was supportive throughout.

They hit snags of their own. Their other businesses and products started ailing. Supriya stretched to support them. They developed a fine synergy supporting each other to stay afloat.

Slowly, they survived the pandemic and Supriya found her feet to set up shop in a new location. However, life still wasn’t easy. One of the businesses that her board was running had to be shut down, permanently dying a natural death.

It was very traumatic considering the investments the whole team had made. Also, the lack of innovation and future investments in the last one year were hurting her product development team now. She was already stretched to the core.

Her self-care had suffered, so had her health. She decided, enough was enough – she was going to turn this around by celebrating how far they had come and start moving towards growth.

  • There was a time when she was scared to drive a project without a team of employees, but she had now risen as an individual powerhouse to be able to drive an entire enterprise by herself supporting the people dependent on her.
  • Previously, she relied heavily on flexible work schedules and passion to give deep long hours of work to projects. But now she had learnt to stick to disciplined goals, measurement and routines, ensuring her team stuck to them by setting an example herself.
  • She figured out ways to keep sane and stable and find ways to think clearly, level-headedly when there was ensuing chaos around her daily. She would succumb to the chaos many times, but learnt to pick herself up for the sake of her organization and move forward with as little hitches as possible.
  • Furthermore, she became a master of dealing with uncertainty, accepting blockers, obstacles, change of plans and unavailability of employees and board members when most needed.

She learnt to steer product development to growth and learnt that moving forward, and the growth trajectory was more important than the lack of immediate results or setbacks/delays (even critical ones in developmental stage).

“Moving forward was more important whatever be the pace. There was no other option. This was survival. They were in for the long haul. They could not stop.”

She became a powerhouse of faith and self-motivation. Nothing could break her. She did get into a shell sometimes, but broke out of it soon and started looking at how far they had come and how much more was there to go on with.

She learnt to try and anticipate how her day was going to be, it wasn’t easy as anticipation didn’t come to her naturally. But her day was never the same. There was lack of structure, and yet she strived to lend discipline to it.

She worked with temperamental and loud team members who had great ideas and needed acknowledgement immediately. They needed to be encouraged.

“She had to drop everything she planned to move with the team. They needed her back and her vision. They depended on her to organise their day, their emotions and their minds. And she had to find creative ways to teach them accountability and responsibility.”

She needed to accept every single change to schedule and yet be firm enough to steer this team towards her organizational goals.

Supriya was the soul of the organization. But she was never visible. She was background information, as all good leaders are. He flaws showed up bigger than others. Her failings were never tolerated as others depended on her. She had truly emerged.

And people say women cannot run innovative start-ups?

Supriya was a mom to a healthy 4-year-old child. Her product was her child. Her co-founder was her husband. Likewise, her enterprise was the parenting set-up, anything and everything needed to raise this beautiful child.

Her board members were parents and in-laws who were invested but not exactly as active as day-to-day co-founders. Her employees were the nannies, day-care teachers, pre-school teachers, maids and other support systems.

“Supriya is an example of every full-time hands-on parent who has emerged to cater to needs of the child. It is a deep, acquired skill of placing the team above self.”

“It is not career break. If resumes can honour running a successful start-up as coveted skill then being a parent and sometimes a full-time one should be an equally coveted skill.”

Image source: Leung Cho Pan, free on Canva Pro

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About the Author

Pratibha Ryali

Prathibha is a cocooned wordsmith in the skin of a technology marketing professional. She hopes that this platform would lend her a voice to raise about anything and everything which is fundamentally puzzling about being read more...

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