Can Lessons from Family Life Make You a Better Manager? Homelife as a Leadership Course.

In the mental health field, we too often focus on how demands in our personal or family life can have negative effects on job performance.  Especially for high demand, high stress, long hours jobs such as managerial and leadership roles in the transportation industry. Seldom does our profession focus on how success in family and home life may enrich managerial and leadership skills. Some recent new research from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia showed that positive experiences and gains from our home life can transfer into more successful leadership behaviors at work. Instead of their family lives detracting from work, the research showed that positive home life experiences can make good managers even better ones.

The researchers pointed out that skills learned at home- especially those that involve raising children- are transferable and can be intentionally applied to workplace leadership. Skills such as:

  • aiding others to be successful,
  • celebrating successes,
  • identifying people’s strengths and building on them,
  • working with others such as other parents to carpool or babysit or teaming with teachers and coaches to foster achievement of a common goal,
  • showing respect, concern, or enthusiasm appropriately,
  • holding others accountable,
  • setting boundaries, and
  • communicating what needs to be accomplished in relatable language and terms.

Underlying all this is relationship building- a crucial skill in the workplace where largely work gets done through relationships.

Just like children at home, your employees respond best to managers who are empathetic, who teach and guide them, who celebrate their successes and teach from their setbacks.  Employees want managers who practice gratitude, communicate honestly and well, and importantly show good emotional intelligence in interactions with their employees and with customers. They want managers who care for them, who responsibly watch over them, who treat them with dignity and respect while expecting reciprocal behavior, and who communicate the organization’s mission and confidently lead them toward its accomplishment.

Has the pandemic has caused you to slow down a bit? To think about what is important, and think more about your family and home life routines?  Maybe there are a lot of lessons to be learned.  This new research is teaching us that lessons learned at home are highly transferrable and can help us be better managers and leaders at work. And without taking another leadership course!


About the Author

Norman Winegar, LCSW, CEAP, NCAC II, US DOT Qualified SAP is the Chief Clinical Officer at Espyr, a behavioral health company based in Atlanta, GA that serves the logistics industry. For over 30 years, Norman has practiced in behavioral health, substance abuse treatment, and Employee Assistance Program practice settings.  He has also worked in leadership positions in both public and private sector behavioral health organizations.  An author of four books, he is frequently called on for presentations and as a panelist to share his expertise and experience as a mental health professional. He can be reached at:

Norman Winegar, LCSW, CEAP, ACSW, NCAC II, DOT Qualified SAP Mr. Winegar is the Chief Clinical Officer of ESPYR, a Marietta, Georgia based behavioral health company. Mr. Winegar has over 30 years of professional experience in the mental health field. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a nationally Certified Employee Assistance Professional, a U.S. Department of Transportation Qualified Substance Abuse Professional, and a Nationally Certified Addictions Counselor, Level II. Mr. Winegar is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Employee Assistance Professionals Association. He has been a Member of the National Academy of Certified Social Workers for over 25 years. A published author of four books and numerous articles concerning behavioral healthcare, Mr. Winegar is a frequent presenter at professional conferences and meetings. Norman Winegar, LCSW, CEAP| Chief Clinical Officer Espyr 1850 Parkway Place Suite 700 Marietta GA 30067