It is better to include being a mum or dad in your CV. Managing children, home, school, gym, swimming pool, homework and colds allows you to develop useful work skills. Problem solving, ability to negotiate, empathy and creativity – parenting skills are so-called soft skills, sought after by companies and highlighted by the World Economic Forum as key skills in the future labour market.
Life Based Value CEO and co-author of the Maternity as a Master’s (Maam) learning method, Riccarda Zezza said: "Some life experiences, like motherhood or fatherhood, are the real exercise because the brain gets back into motion. It is just like when children go to elementary school – the same kind of learning.” Maam is the first programme in the world that transforms motherhood into a master's degree for soft skills development. Companies buy a package of lessons for parent employees, who recognise and put into practice parenting skills in the work and non-work life.
Zezza said: “Soft skills make the difference to a company’s productivity and ability to innovate, but it is difficult to train people only in the classroom. Theory is important, but real learning takes place through practice." And what is better practice than parenting? When we deal with a new identity, as in the case of motherhood, the brain starts learning quickly, because it must adapt to a new, more complex and continuously changing situation. You put into motion mental agility and problem solving the moment a child is born.” Each day is different from the next. And it is through everyday life that you practically train. We have to find a name and recognise these skills.
The World Economic Forum listed key skills needed for the labour world by 2020 – listening, communication, emotional intelligence, forging alliances, judgement and decision making, time management, priority setting, delegation and collaboration, management of complexity, creativity, active learning and intellectual agility, complex problem solving, change vision and management and networking.
Soft skills make the difference in a company's productivity and ability to innovate. Learning these takes place through practice. And what is better practice than parenting?
Speaking of skills, Zezza reiterates that a mother has them all. "Let's think about how many decisions a parent takes daily. Or the ability to negotiate, which begins when the child is between a year and 18 months old." Many of the women who participated in the Maam programmes have started to include motherhood in their CV and job interviews contrary to what is usually done in Italy.
And what about dads? Since January 2017, Maam has a path dedicated to them to train their skills when a child is born. Scientific studies have shown that fathers who actively care for their children develop the same skills as mothers. Care activities in men cause similar maternal neurochemical reactions. Oxytocin production, which in mothers is stimulated by affectionate contact, and in fathers is activated by playing. Testosterone levels and consequently aggression are reduced. In addition: fatherhood becomes an important empathy exercise. Scientific studies have shown that men have a less developed emotional intelligence than women. Zezza explained: "On a biological level we have seen that the practice of fatherhood improves the relationship between the parts of the brain that oversee the social and emotional skills, which are considered key skills for managerial success.”
In Maam, we call this "Transilience”, which is the ability to transfer certain skills from one role to another. From home to the office and vice versa. The feedback coming to Riccarda Zezza’s team is enlightening. For example, a father recounted how he was using the listening skills (which he usually used with his children) with an employee who was inclined to complain. He let him talk to stimulate him to identify the cause of his discomfort. During the discussion, a shared truth emerged, and eventually the father-boss recovered his employee’s trust. Being a parent had helped his company.