Two years ago, Rob Bravo, Talking Talent’s Coaching Director and Head of Wellbeing, delivered a breakthrough piece of research on dads at work and the threat of burnout. His work identified an emerging issue around dads and their mental health that has since become an increasing focus in organisations across the land.
We caught up with Rob for a Q&A below on the modern-day challenges for dads at work, and where we need to start moving workplaces towards.
Where are new fathers in the grand scheme of change in the workplace?
“New Fathers are at an evolutionary stage to where mothers were a generation ago”
When I look at your Millennial Dad at Work research, it chimes with a lot of what I see every day in the workplace.
What I see is that men are slightly suspicious when it comes to being a father at work.
Internally they have questions like:
- Is it really ok for me to take SPL?
- Is it really ok for me to take flexible working?
There are concerns over the perceptions of dads in these situations. It’s no surprise that dads reported their tensions when it comes to flexible work because the conversations need to be navigated much better.
When you say “navigate the conversations” what do you mean by that?
“We need to create a safe space for dads to talk about their role as dads at work.”
The state of fatherhood has changed but there are still a lack of role models to show that it is ok to be; a dad as well as a leader, a dad and a colleague, a dad and a productive employee.
Men’s emotional language is different. The way men are listening and listened to is based off very different triggers to mothers in the workplace. So, the way we talk to men about their role as dads at work has to change too.
At Talking Talent, we have been running more and more coaching sessions that are co-gendered as well as ones just with dads, and the state of more active fatherhood has become very clear in those sessions.
Shared Parental Leave is a great example. Two years ago the majority of dads didn’t even know what it was. Now I see more that are curious, more that are interested, and more that want to take it!
It really fills me with joy to see the dads who are taking Shared Parental Leave.
“I want to do a little dance as a coach every time I hear that, but I have to be careful as a coach to be impartial.”
Two years ago, we wrote about your brilliant research on dads and burnout. How has that progressed since?
It’s certainly helped in ramping up the concern in the area. My worry is that a lot of people are still defaulting to basic solutions.
“Tea and Tai-Chi” is not going to answer the core issue around burnout.”
We need to understand the dynamics have changed; parents are working in an always-on world, and beyond just awareness raising we need to start developing a more holistic approach to how we help parents navigate a different world of work.
In one sentence what do you want to see more of across UK workplaces?
The realisation that parenthood is a marathon, not a sprint.
About Talking Talent
|Talking Talent is a niche, award-winning global coaching consultancy leading the gender diversity agenda. For more than a decade, Talking Talent has worked with organisations on tailored coaching programmes that help them to retain talented individuals, increase their effectiveness and ensure that the benefit ripples throughout its business.
You can download the full report “Working out burnout” here