About the blog

Welcome to 3minuteleadership.org and thanks for visiting.
Over the last few years, I have been observing different forms of leadership and management and thinking about what works in today’s workplace.

Striving to be a good leader myself and create an environment where individuals can thrive, I have spent much time pondering how to help people to achieve and deliver to the best of their ability.

Through this site, I plan to share leadership lessons in bitesize chunks of 3 minutes or less.  I hope that the blog can provide a space for likeminded people to share thoughts and ideas on leadership for the 21st Century.

By doing this, I hope that we can change the way we lead and transform the workplace, developing people that are inspired and empowered to make a difference in the world.

 

About the elephants…

I’ve chosen the elephant image because the matriarch influences the herd more than any other.  With a quiet and confident leadership style, she sets the direction and allows others to follow.

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The essential reading list for women who want to get on

A friend approached me the other week wanting to talk about a couple of experiences she had recently had in work that had surprised and concerned her. She has recently moved into an executive role and had come home after her second negative experience with a male colleague, saddened by the realisation that there are things she is likely to experience and will need to deal with purely on the basis that she is a woman.

She came to me because she knows I have spent years promoting gender equality in the economy, supporting women leaders and working with employers to ensure workplaces that allows them to succeed. She was shocked and disappointed by what had happened and wanted to know what she could do to prevent it in the future.

Sadly, gender stereotypes are entrenched and we still have a long way to go before the cultural and social ‘norms’ which hold women back are fully addressed. Whilst gender equality has come a long way, it is far from done and there is still a lot that needs to change before women can truly succeed.

In response to my friend’s anguish, I provided her with an essential reading list for women who want to get on.

These books don’t have all the answers but they do allow a better understanding of what is at play allowing us to better understand the dynamics and therefore how to respond when your male colleagues say or do something that weakens your authority.

  1. Executive Presence, Sylvia Hewlett – in this book, Hewlett identifies what it takes for others to perceive you as a leader. You might have got there as a result of qualifications and experience but to be successful as a leader, you need to have ‘executive presence’ which is a mix of appearance, communication and gravitas. You can buy the book on Amazon or find out the key points in this presentation.
  2. Your body language may shape who you are, Amy Cuddy – this work shows how body language can change people’s perceptions and also how you can change your own chemistry through different positions. It shows how men and women use space and how women can increase their levels of testosterone and therefore confidence. Cuddy’s ideas reached the world through this TED talk.
  3. You just don’t understand: Men & women in conversation, Deborah Tannen – this is one of the most useful books I have read because it increases our understanding of how men and women use language differently. In this book, Tannen shows us how women use language to build relationships and men use it to preserve status.
  4. Lean In, Sheryl SandbergThis book was huge in 2015, sharing valuable insight from Facebook’s COO who draws on her own experience as a women in business, sharing tips that will ensure you are taken seriously. Key takeaways for me from this book were making sure women have a seat at the table and having the confidence to speak up.

 

Is there an essential book on your reading list that we should know about?  Please share in the comments below.

 

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[Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay]

Why a bit of ‘warm & fuzzy’ is important for motivating teams

How to motivate people has been a topic of conversation which has come up several times for me over the last couple of weeks.

Previously, I have written about the principles of autonomy, mastery, purpose which Dan Pink promotes in his book ‘Drive’. The theory set out in the book is one I believe in strongly but talking about it with others has made me realise that there is a further aspect that needs to be considered.

I’ve also written before about the value and importance of the ‘cuddle’ hormone oxytocin and I think there is something important here that helps to motivate people to come to work and give their best.

It’s a complex environment we are working in today and technology has sped up the pace of change. News is instant and we are expected to be able to respond and change direction very quickly. Certainly, working with lots of small charities, I see leaders and staff delivering in tough conditions, trying to push on forward despite high levels of uncertainty.

It takes a lot of resilience to keep going under these circumstances and I think that there is some ‘warm fuzzy stuff’ that leaders can easily implement which helps to keep people motivated.

Recognition – firstly, when people work hard, they want to be recognised for their efforts. This doesn’t have to take the form of big awards but just something to show that they have been noticed, whether that is an individual or the whole team, sometimes both probably, just let them know they have been seen.
Appreciation – say thank you! In whatever form you are most comfortable with and preferably often. A common view seems to be that work is transactional i.e. people come to work, do the job and get paid which should be thanks enough. It isn’t enough though if you want a motivated, high performing team. For that, you need to give a bit more which means saying and doing things that make people feel appreciated.

Celebration – celebrate often, let staff enjoy being at work and feel good about what they have achieved. Far too often, we finish one thing and move straight on to another with no looking back. If your team works hard and delivers success, encourage them to take time out to reflect and celebrate their achievements however small.

Whilst I believe these things are important all year round, I also think that Christmas is a point in the calendar where we should take a moment to reflect on what’s gone well, thank people for their contribution and celebrate the achievements of the year gone by.  So this year, why don’t you think about how you use these ideas to ensure you have an empowered and motivated team for 2020.

 

Like this article? Have your own experience to share? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

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(Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay)

Why putting people first pays dividends for employers

A few articles have come to my attention recently around flexible working and in particular the challenges for working parents in what can sometimes be a fight to get employers to recognise the value in supporting employees to achieve a good balance.

Beginning my career working for myself, I was able to see the benefits of flexible working, being able to fulfil my professional responsibilities at times that worked for me and also manage personal commitments. Since then, I have championed flexibility in the workplace and heard both employers and staff challenge this over the years.

One article that really spoke to me recently shared the story of a woman who had returned from maternity leave and requested flexible working arrangements. As part of a restructure, her line Manager decided that all roles needed to be full-time and her application was turned down. A legal case decided that the employer had made this decision without evidence and the tribunal resulted in a finding of Unfair Dismissal and Indirect Sex Discrimination.

Another article that I came across yesterday, shared the story of an employer who came into the office and found a woman crying at her desk. When he asked why, he discovered that she had been up all night with a sick child and had come into work because she had no leave that she could use and needed to be paid.

Now, I’m guessing that many employers feel wary of giving an inch in case people take a mile and before you know it, you are paying for staff who are never there. I do think though that parents especially can be in a difficult situation, trying to pay high costs of childcare, deliver for their employer and meet the needs of their offspring.

It reminds me of a quote I saw the other week: “We expect women to work like they don’t have children and raise children as if they don’t work.” This isn’t exclusively women anymore but the pressure is still the same and I do hear strong opinion from other mums against women who choose to work full-time.

What I find in managing my team is that they want to be in work and do their jobs well. It’s a fact though that sometimes home and family commitments need more immediate attention in the same way that some days they need to work late or over the weekend. They don’t mind giving their own time for work commitments so why would I make it difficult for them when they have issues at home they need to deal with? If their car had broken down, I would let them take the time they need to fix it so why wouldn’t I let them have the flexibility they need when their child is sick?

Companies that have a flexi-time system can be useful in these situations but I still see so many of these systems based on initial theory from the model’s inception which fails to offer genuine flexibility. And I hear of even more employers that say ‘flexible working is great but it wouldn’t work here’. These are most likely the same employers that want their staff in the office late every night or working on demand.

What I’m saying here is that many people with caring responsibilities want to work and it’s often even more important for this group because they want balance but for very practical reasons, it needs to be both ways.

Also, I think that it pays dividends when employers put people first because it returns a level of loyalty and commitment that money can’t buy.

Do you manage people flexibly with positive results?  Do you have experience to share on flexible working requests? If so, please share in the comments below.

 

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(Image by William Iven from Pixabay)

The challenges for charity leaders in a world of change and complexity

We live in a world of great uncertainty where the environment is changing at a rapid rate and as hard as we try to predict, we don’t know what the future is going to look like possibly because it is a future which is at present unimaginable!

Things we might have thought impossible a few years ago are actually happening today. Technological advances are pushing us forward faster than ever before. Driverless cars, for example, are going to become very real very soon. Drone delivery will perhaps become a common thing and maybe we will all be taking our holidays in space!

Of course, in the UK the immediate concern is if and when we will be leaving the European Union with or without a deal and what we will be left with when it all shakes down. It seems like we won’t know for sure until it happens and we certainly can only guess what impact that will have for the future.

Already, charities are facing challenging times with funding being reduced or cut completely and in some high profile cases of poor management or misconduct have led to serious questions about how charities operate.

Leading differently in an era of change sets out a number of challenges facing the third sector currently and offers a number of ideas for leading organisations through these complex times.

Those of us who work in the third sector know how much our work matters for beneficiaries and the knock-on effect for those around them as well. In the current climate, however, it takes a particular set of skills and qualities to be able to lead in such a complex environment.

When asked about what it means to be a leader in the third sector today, I decided to pose the question to other charity leaders to gather views from across the sector. In response, I received a wide range of views on the challenges facing charities today and the skills and attributes required of leaders in the sector during challenging times.

Here are the top 6 attributes we think charity leaders  need to succeed in the current climate:

  1. High levels of integrity – public trust has suffered as a result of poor management of funds or improper conduct which has come to light over the last few years. As a result, charity leaders must be exemplary, demonstrating third sector values in their behaviour at all times and acting with integrity.
  2. Ability to generate funding – accessing funds has always been a key priority for charities but in the current climate of austerity, leaders must be innovative in their approaches ad able to take calculated risks in order to secure opportunities.
  3. Commitment to good governance – in line with the first point, charity leaders need to ensure their house is in order and so ensuring robust procedures, monitoring and scrutiny is important for gaining trust and confidence from stakeholders and beneficiaries.
  4. Vision & optimism – in tough times, leaders need to be able to focus on the positives and bring people along with a positive vision for the future.
  5. Humility & gratitude – leaders need to be genuine and remain connected with those they represent which requires them to remain humble and thankful for all they have, do and contribute.
  6. Resilience – finally, I would say that leaders in the third sector right now need to be resilient because delivering in tough times requires leaders to keep going regardless of setbacks and maintain that ‘can-do’ attitude and commitment to the vision.

How to overcome some of these? A key message coming through from other charity leaders has been the importance of strong and supportive networks.  This article, ‘The power of coffee and conversation’ shows how making time for informal conversations and sharing is important for gathering ideas and developing strategies to overcome stubborn obstacles.

Finally, if you are a leader in the third sector in Wales and looking for an opportunity to meet other charity leaders, @HeadsUpCardiff offers a range of friendly and informal networking events which might be just what you are looking for!

 

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Warning! Working differently can seriously improve the environment (and well-being)

In Cardiff and everywhere, there has been a lot of talk lately about clean air and reducing carbon emissions and indeed, in Wales, the Government has declared a climate emergency which suggests they are finally taking this seriously and we are going to see some critical action.

As ever with this conversation, the ideas and actions for tackling carbon emissions tend to be focused on getting people to switch their mode of travel from the car to cleaner, greener forms of transport such as electric cars, bike or train.

What I notice though is that those responsible for solving this problem rarely seem to ask themselves the very important question: ‘What if people didn’t need to travel?’

We are so entrenched in an industrial model that work is still seen as a place we go rather than something we do and so rarely given the consideration it deserves as one of the tools in the box when it comes to tackling climate change.

As someone with a long history of promoting flexible working, I can see a lot of opportunities not only for the environment but for individuals and employers too. So why are we not talking more about this and how working differently can reduce carbon emissions whilst also increasing community cohesion and overall well-being?

It’s a bold claim but I believe that it’s because so many managers are scared to let people get on with it and unable to tell if they are actually working if they can’t see someone at a desk in front of them. Too many organisations manage people on the basis of time and presence in the office. Just think what we could achieve if that switched to trust and outcomes instead?

Part of the issue is the number of limiting beliefs around different ways of working so here are some common myths and realities that will hopefully help to open up some new ways of thinking about how we can reduce the need to travel for work purposes, reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

Myth: When we talk about working differently, we mean people working from home on a permanent basis.

Reality: Working in an office and working from home are just two options in a broad spectrum and also not mutually exclusive. People could maybe work one day a week in their local community which could be at home or in a community hub or café or anywhere they feel inspired. This would reduce the need to travel and increase feelings of connections in the community.

Myth: If people are at home, they will have more distractions.

Reality: When people are working from home, they might put the washing out or get the dinner started and that is actually ok. When they are in work, they might be talking about what happened last night on Coronation Street or making everyone a cup of tea which is also ok. Regardless of whatever household tasks get done when at home, most people would say that working remotely is great for getting on with work projects because there are fewer distractions.

Myth: Working remotely has a negative impact on well-being.

Reality: If you work alone, at home, all day, every day, this can have a negative impact on well-being for some people. However, working from home sometimes can be beneficial because people can concentrate on a piece of work and save time travelling to the office which they can then spend getting jobs done or playing with their children. This can have a positive impact on well-being.

Myth: Supporting remote working requires expensive video conferencing platforms to allow people to remain connected.

Reality: We are better connected than ever before so utilisation of the wide range of free channels available to us means that teams can remain connected regardless of location.

Myth: Managers are automatically equipped to cope with any working arrangement.

Reality: Technology has transformed what is possible in the workplace, allowing people to work whenever and wherever is best to get the job done. Ensuring staff performance when managing remote workers is something that many feel less confident about so training should be built in to organisational development programmes to ensure managers have the necessary skills to cope with all situations.

 

Do you think working differently has the potential to help reduce carbon emissions? Do you have thoughts on how we can build confidence and skills to manage different ways of working? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

If you like this article, you might like to read this one too: Want greater staff retention, less sickness absence and increased productivity? Join the results based revolution and unleash the power within.

 

 

 

 

 

Perfecting an 80/20 ‘balance’ that nurtures talent and celebrates success

Recently, I was speaking at an internal session on managing performance and explained why I believe the role of a leader is to help people be the best they can be.

The discussion began when we were asked to identify measures of staff satisfaction and organisational success.  One of the first things that came up was staff retention with many believing this this is a sign of problems.

Now, I accept that if staff start leaving in numbers then it can indicate that there is a problem which needs to be addressed but I asked them to consider a different possibility: perhaps it shows that people are being managed well, developing skills and progressing to the next level.

When asked, I explained to the group that I strongly believe part of my responsibility as a leader is to develop people.  This means that they should grow professionally during their time in a role, gaining new skills and enjoying a boost in confidence.  Ideally, they would then rise through the ranks and feel the satisfaction and fulfilment of working for an organisation that nurtures talent, utilises this appropriately and rewards people for their success.

However, in a small organisation, it can be hard to do this and so it needs to be OK to develop people so that they can move on.  If people move on to better things as a result of what they learnt with me, then I consider that a good outcome for the organisation.  I also find that it means we have champions in the wider world and many of my staff are still working with us in their new roles.

Doing things in this way creates ambassadors who can raise awareness of our work with their new colleagues and partners.

 

The 80/20 rule

In terms of how I ensure people are able to develop, I believe in an 80/20 rule.  Put simply, this means that individuals should spend 80% of their time doing things they feel they are good at and 20% stretching themselves.

To help me identify their strengths and development areas, I ask staff to complete a personal development plan which allows them to list their skills, achievements and goals.  We then sit down and have a discussion about what they have included and I might make further suggestions about anything I think is missing.  People don’t always see something as a strength or a talent so I might explore certain things with them to highlight any skills I think they have but don’t recognise.

This provides a framework for which they can develop an action plan to push themselves forwards.

 
The theory part

One of the key theories that underpins my leadership style is Dan Pink’s work on motivation which argues that the three things people need to be successful at work is autonomy, mastery and purpose.

The 80/20 rule means that they spend 80% of their time utilising their strengths and working towards mastery.  If their time is spent mostly on things they enjoy and feel they are good at, then they will feel good most of the time and will be doing things that fire them up, satisfy them and allow them to feel confident.

From that place, they can focus on the other 20% which should be about things they either don’t want to do (we all have those things) and things that they want/need to learn to be the best they can be.

The key to success with the 20% is to have a clear action plan which identifies skills and competencies that need to be developed in order to achieve career goals.  This should include steps that will be taken to ensure that individual can push forwards and make tangible progress towards their goals.

In terms of monitoring, I hold individuals to account for completing their actions by making sure progress is discussed on a quarterly basis and then on an annual basis, I ask staff to reflect again and complete a new plan for the year ahead.

 

Achieving ‘flow’

If you look through the stages, you can see that the method is based on the high performance cycle – Plan, Do, Review and Improve.  In following this process and ensuring the 80/20 ‘balance’, I believe people can be supported to achieve ‘flow’ which, in positive psychology, is:

‘The mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity’.

This has to be the state of optimum performance and exactly where we surely would want our teams to be so I challenge you to try a different way and see the difference it makes.

 

If you can see the value of this approach or have similar methods yourself, share your thoughts in the comments below.

Why Brexit needs leadership based on kindness and compassion not soundbites and rhetoric

This morning, I am in a hotel room in Manchester watching commentators discuss the latest humiliation of UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, after every option of her Brexit plan was rejected by MPs.

As you will know, the news from last night is that she told her party she would step down if her Brexit deal is passed which seems like a desperate plea for support so that she can finish the job she took on. When this all started to blow up, I had some sympathy with May because it seemed like she didn’t stand a chance from the beginning, maybe because MPs from across the UK are afraid of what a British exit from the EU will actually mean for the country.

The longer things have gone on, the more embarrassed I feel as I watch the pantomime that our parliament has become and with recent events in New Zealand, it’s hard not to wonder where we might be if we had a different kind of leader at the helm.

It is clear that Brexit is divisive – it divided families and friends overnight with passionate views on both sides, often under one roof – so it needed leadership that could recognise all opinions and bring people back together, moving towards a shared vision for the future.

After the referendum in 2016, it seemed to me that what was needed was a cabinet of the best people from across all parties. Ok, this isn’t common but a coalition Government was in place under Churchill’s leadership during the second World War and working together now for the good of the country is just as important now as we negotiate our way out of the European Union as it was in wartime.

Evidently, May doesn’t share that view (or doesn’t have the skills) and she has missed the opportunity to unify, instead, widening the divide and creating even more conflict. The greater the challenge, the more determined she seems to become.  She has stuck to her guns but she clearly hasn’t inspired confidence and is now paying the price.

In a stark contrast, we have just seen New Zealand face their own man-made crisis in the Christchurch terror attack, with a leader who has reacted entirely differently; not with soundbites and rhetoric but with kindness and compassion. She has brought people together across New Zealand and been clear that she will take action to protect people and make sure this tragedy doesn’t happen again.

We have seen Jacinda Ardern with her people, sharing their grief, showing support and role modelling behaviours. She has shown people how they can join together in solidarity. She hasn’t just said it; she has done it. She has led a nation in mourning, not by standing out but by blending in and showing that she is part of the community too. She has shown emotion, empathy and humanity, standing out to the world as a modern leader who many would do well to learn from.

So how could May have followed this example to bring together a not so United Kingdom? Maybe she could have listened harder and shown some care for those who have found themselves in conflict instead of ploughing on without support. She perhaps could have tapped into those heightened emotions and spoken to the people instead of robotically trotting out tory lines that sound too cold for comfort. And she certainly could have found some humanity to show she understands the anguish that is out there on all sides instead of ignoring those dissenters and carrying on regardless.

Britain needs to be united behind a shared vision for the future and I hope that the next leader can recognise this and deliver success.
What do you think of leadership in relation to Brexit? Do you agree that a different style might have yielded better results? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

Top tips for writing job applications that will get you shortlisted

Recently, I was approached by a friend who has been applying for jobs but hasn’t had much success in securing interviews and was wondering how he could increase his chances of getting through the paper stage to increase his chances of getting the job. When I had heard that he was finding the application process challenging, I offered to take a look for him and see if I could offer any suggestions for improvement.

Eventually, he decided it might be worth me taking a look and I could immediately see the problem. Whilst he was doing a great job of showing what an impressive person he is and the wide range of skills he could bring to the post, he wasn’t managing to demonstrate how he could meet the skills and competencies set out in the role description. It wasn’t necessarily that he didn’t mention these but he didn’t do so in a way that made his application easy to shortlist so I showed him a few techniques that he could use to make it easier for the recruiter to see how he could meet the requirements of the role.

With just a few tweaks, he was able to transform his application into something that got him shortlisted and could then start preparing for the main interview.

I understand well the confusing process of job applications and have myself had to figure out the right way of approaching them. Feedback I received years ago was that the way I presented the information made my application difficult to shortlist and I was lucky to be shown a better way to set out the information which increased my level of success.

So here are my top tips for successful selection:

  1. Focus on the person specification – when tackling the application, you should outline your suitability for the role, making sure you refer back to the person specification. In fact, using each line of the person spec as a heading and providing evidence of how you meet this requirement below makes the application easier to shortlist. You should give examples of how you meet that requirement, using bullet points to separate them so the recruiter can stop reading once satisfied and move on to the next one.
  2. Know your USP – I always find it useful to have clear in my head why I think the panel should choose me over everyone else. Think about what you can bring to the role that is unique to you and sets you out from the crowd. Make sure you get this across in the application and then in the interview.
  3. Use the STAR approach – the best way to structure your evidence is the STAR approach – Situation, Task, Action, Result. This allows you to provide examples that illustrate your skills, telling a story that demonstrates your ability to do the job. Don’t forget to end these examples with the ‘so what?’ – what was the impact or what would have happened if you hadn’t taken action?
  4. Sell yourself – if you want to get the job then you have to present yourself as the best. This means celebrating your achievements and being clear about the role you have played in the success of your previous projects. Many people find it difficult to do this and perhaps feel that their previous workplace wins have been part of a team effort but job applications are not the place to share the credit and instead you need to show how your contribution was critical for any collective achievements.
  5. Be concise – you need to get your point across in as few words as possible. This is especially important if you have been given a specific word count or page limit but regardless, a recruiter is likely to have a number of applications to read so don’t send them your own version of war and peace, demonstrate your ability to meet the requirement and move on. At times, the word count is so challenging and it isn’t possible to address the whole of the person spec so in these instances I recommend picking out your main achievements that demonstrate your suitability for the role and say that you hope to be able to discuss further at interview.
  6. Address any weaknesses – if you can’t do something they ask for, you need to show how you would overcome this. Just giving no answer will mean the recruiter is unable to score you for that skills or competency. However, if you say you don’t have direct experience but have shown how you can get up to speed quickly, they might give you extra points.

Finally, if you find that you are following these tips and still not getting shortlisted, make sure you ask for feedback so that you can continue to improve until you are achieving success on a consistent basis. Of course it might be that there are particular skills you need to develop or experience still to gain so seeking constructive feedback will allow you to identify areas to work on so that you can improve your chances for the future.


Have questions about the application stage of the recruitment process? Something of your own experience to share? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Barriers and benefits of Shared Parental Leave

On Monday, I will head to the office for the first time in six months as my maternity leave ends and my husband takes over at home as primary carer for our baby boy.

According to figures, take up of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is as low as 2% and with enhanced packages mostly reserved for mothers, it’s easy to understand why. Some of the large private sector companies that really want to do their bit for gender equality, offer generous packages for Dads but for many, SPL is a luxury they just can’t afford to take up.

As someone who campaigned for parents to have the right to share their leave in whatever way they see fit, it’s only right that I would swap with my husband and let him take the strain at home while I go back to work. Financially, it makes sense for us too which is what SPL has always been about – families being able to manage their responsibilities with the main earner able to continue to work and baby being cared for by a parent regardless of which one it is.

Looking back, I remember how many people said I would change my mind both about sharing my leave and about going back full time but I haven’t and I’m ready to go back to a job I love and let father and son have their own time to bond.

As the big day approaches, I’m excited at the prospect of a full nights’ sleep and freedom to just ‘pop to the shop’. Plus, actually, I think it makes sense to have three months to recover from so many sleepless nights before we both have to adjust to a new life in which we battle to balance work and family life.

In terms of Dad’s thoughts, it’s his last day at work tomorrow and he is looking forward to having lots of quality time with his son and continuing to show him the world. He is both excited and apprehensive about having three months away from work for the same reasons as many of us mums. Some of the things he has mentioned include concerns about a reduction in wages and how we will manage, missed career opportunities and a fear of being left behind at work.

I do feel a little sad that this special time is nearly over but I’m happy that my husband will also have the opportunity to care for our child and take an active role. I’ve known all along that I can’t do it all on my own and I’m glad to have the opportunity to share the care right from the beginning.

So what stops more Dads from taking the opportunity? Many mums don’t want to cut their maternity leave short to allow Dad to take a turn and many that are happy to do that can’t afford to. It seems to me that employers should offer the same enhanced package for Shared Parental Leave as they do for Maternity Leave but until they do, the uptake will remain low.

Only yesterday, a campaign to provide access to baby changing facilities for Dads was in the news, highlighting the role of fathers in raising their children. It’s right that the world should change to recognise that children have two parents. Traditional attitudes to gender roles still linger but during my leave, I have come into contact with lots of fathers who are at home caring for their little ones and think this is something that will become more and more common in the future.

Have you taken Shared Parental Leave? How did you find it and what were the benefits for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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