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Management Skills and Family Relations

Updated: Jan 16

“I feel sandwiched between my wife and my mother, it feels unfair. My wife for instance is such a highly educated woman holding a good corporate position, but still somehow struggles to manage things at home. My mother on the hand just doesn’t understand and would fixate on small issues. Having to witness all this after a long tiring day is draining. There are days I don’t feel like coming home to this drama. I don’t understand why do they drag me in these petty fights, if they don’t get along, where am I going wrong? All I expect from my family is peace, is it that difficult to understand?”

Heard this before? Read on to know about the complications a manager faces managing his/her home team.

A common question that arises from a Social Psychological perspective is to ascertain why people who are highly rated for their managerial skills at work, frequently fail to demonstrate the same success at home with their families. Individuals are unable or unwilling to address acrimonious issues between family members leaving the interpersonal dynamics to play out by themselves with incohesive and dysfunctional outcomes eventually leading to breakdown in the family structure.

What I frequently observe is that while many people execute excellent decisions at work under very trying circumstances and handle various challenging interpersonal interactions with work colleagues with objectivity and equanimity, the same skills fail them when they face family strife and communication breakdowns at home. They are unable to maintain composure, take decisions and adopt a balanced attitude for resolving disputes between family members. When dealing with differences at home that need urgent redressal, avoidance and procrastination by them is the common position adopted, leading to often repeated complaints by the family member in a therapy room that the spouse simply does not display decisiveness and care for them. Over time, the anger that this generates adversely affects how trustworthy they are seen to be and the confidence that their spouses have in their ability to create and maintain a more harmonious and positive environment within the family structure.

Serenity Space Wellness Centre carried out a study via a survey and detailed questionnaire on couples to assess the interactive, analytical and problem-solving skills of many people who held managerial positions at work as perceived by their partners at home.

The results indicated that the individuals rated themselves at a particular score vis a vis their efficacy at home in managing family issues and were under the impression that they were employing managerial skills amply displayed at work. However, their partners rated them very poorly in terms of their proactivity, their willingness and/or ability to objectively understand the problem and efficacy in finding a satisfactory solution for all concerned. If we take the family as a team working towards a common goal with common resources, this fails the desired standards.

The objective of Serenity Space Wellness Centre is to assess why functioning and high performing managers in the corporate world are unable or unwilling to harness the same managerial skills at home when called upon to do so. The fallout of this avoidance is a breakdown of family relations leading to tremendous stress for all concerned and culminates in enormous emotional and psychological costs to the society as a whole.

To elaborate this further, below is a typical real life example of how the wife of a senior corporate executive described her story at home.

“My husband is very good in his professional life however I struggle with him at home. Most of our honeymoon was spent with him being on his work calls. I would have still made peace with that, but things have been so bad with his mother and me and all he does is ignore my complaints. He doesn’t do anything to make things better between us, and asks me to grow up and deal with my own situations. If I happen to just vent out to him about how I am feeling, he gets irritated and throws a fit that I am always cribbing and being critical about his mother. Everything is always my fault. He stays awake for hours dealing with his ‘work crisis’ but if I ask him to make things easier for me at home, he is always too tired and sleepy to talk. Anytime I approach him, he refuses to discuss this. I feel very isolated and unsupported in this house. I don’t know how to deal with his parents without his help.”

Do you think you could relate to this story? If so, check out this space to know what measures you can practise to improve your interpersonal relationships.

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