This month we are covering working with your partner – what happens when she is on top, what happens when he is on top (or one party on top of the other) and what happens when both are on top.
These days, it’s becoming more and more common to see stay-at-home dads, work-from-home dads or just working dads who are killing it as they expertly deal with baking the brownies for the bake sale, dropping off the science project and setting up playdates.
But let’s be real, most of the world’s population is still getting used to the idea that Dad can do the laundry and make dinner. So when you look at a business that a couple who owns together, but has decided she’s best suited to take on the top role, then that often means he’s on carpool duty.
While society is making lots of strides in this department, there will probably still be people who look down on a father taking on a larger role in the family unit rather than the business side. It might be hard on the male ego to continuously answer questions about whether he took this role by choice and how he feels about making school lunches and volunteering at kids’ activities.
For the record, both roles are extremely important in family units, and while there might be someone who does the lion’s share of either position, the best partnerships understand that the roles are interchangeable.
As with any job, it’s important to figure out a work-life balance that won’t end up making him feel under appreciated.
Depending on what kind of roles he’s had in the past, it might be a big change for him to step back and take on more of the family duties (if that’s what the couple have decided). It may take a while to figure out how and when to do the laundry, or perhaps the best way to plan the weekly menu, but if both parties work together, then they should be able to figure out the best system for their family.
It is also important for the male staying at home or taking on more of the home duties to ensure they still have networks, friends, interests and passions to explore and regularly give time to so they do not end up isolating themselves (which women generally tend to naturally do better than men).
Lets also not forget, just because someone is on top at work, doesn’t mean they still cant pull their weight at home. It is definitely about finding that balance that works.
As a side note – be sure to factor in if there’s going to be travel involved for either person’s position that it doesn’t create issues at home. Travel definitely takes planning – so coordinate those calendars and partners who are travelling – remember, doing it on your own entirely can be pretty challenging at times especially with school pick ups, sporting requirements etc….show some extra love and appreciation when you come back!
One of the things on the business side that we often find that is different if the woman is in charge, is that the women will try and make the male role (whatever it is at work/home) feel as if he’s in a senior, important position.
On the flip side, men don’t always reciprocate when on top—perhaps because she may be doing more of an administrative role or all the roles that the male may not like doing but is still important for both roles to feel valued.
Another issue in the woman on top vs. man on top is respecting her authority. If she’s the CEO of the business, then her decisions are the final say. Therefore both staff and he need to follow the org chart which can be challenging at times.
Any sarcastic comments, patronising or not following direction can definitely end up with team members losing respect for both parties.
No matter what role the man is given when she’s on top, he still needs to be held to the same expectations as anyone else in the same type of role.
For example, if she’s the CEO and he’s an operation manager, even though he is a stakeholder in the business, he should be held to the same standard as any other operation manager. If that means he needs to report to certain meetings or turn in monthly or weekly reports, he should be doing it just like any other manager to set the right standards for everyone.
Stick around for next week when we discuss what arises when he’s on top.
There are 3 areas you need clarity to solve the issues we’re discussing this month.
3. Role clarity and KPI success factors
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