INT 039: Leading a team when you have special needs children or aging parents

Linda Yates, Abbi Perets

Leading a team in the workplace can be tough. What can make it even more challenging, however, is when situations at home force you to devote more time, energy, or resources away from business aspirations. On today’s episode of IntHerrupt, Linda is joined by Abbi Perets to discuss how to lead a team when you have special needs children, aging parents, or other commitments that can impact your professional aspirations.

But first, who is Abbi?

  • Originally your typical corporate professional, Abbi transitioned to freelance writing upon the birth of her first child.
  • Now Abbi has five children, with two having special needs. Her third child has Soto syndrome and her youngest child only has one ear.
  • While unintentional, freelancing was incredibly helpful for Abbi. When she found her days full of therapy and doctor’s appointments for her kids, she was still able to work.

Balancing work and her personal life is critical. 

  • For Abbi, the key to balancing everything in her life is sacrificing things she is willing to sacrifice.
  • She doesn’t worry about having a perfectly organized home. Clean laundry can stay in baskets, and dishes can be in the sink overnight because she picks and chooses where to put her energy.
  • Letting something go doesn’t mean letting go of it for life. It’s simply reprioritizing based on what’s happening at the current time.

How does Abbi stay positive?

  • Apart from thriving on sarcasm and very dark humor, Abbi believes that happiness is a choice. 
  • When her son and mother both had cancer, Abbi got the help she needed to remain hopeful and optimistic.
  • Women in particular struggle in silence. But there’s nothing wrong with taking medication, getting counseling, or anything else to find happiness.
  • She looks for small things that bring joy to her, like reading, a good cup of coffee, celebrating with her kids, and walks with her husband around their neighborhood.

How does Abbi manage her client’s expectations? 

  • When her son was diagnosed with cancer, she immediately contacted her clients and said she wouldn’t be able to work for the foreseeable future, and it wasn’t until he finished treatment that she began to work again.
  • She is a huge believer that your calendar is not an aspirational document. You need to be realistic about how to plot out a calendar, which means scheduling time for yourself. 
  • Being honest about the amount of work she can do helps her set realistic expectations with her clients and deliver work on time.

What are things listeners can do to be more sensitive to team members who deal with these types of issues?

  • Ask them to be honest with you about how much work they can take on. 
  • Be cognizant, but also hold people accountable. Some people like to be very engaged in work during difficult times because it is a routine. If a coworker or employee wants that, respect it. Don’t decide what they need.
  • If your employees can do things better for you and themselves by working remotely, welcome that chance to help people balance their values.

To connect with Abbi, visit her website https://successfulfreelancemom.com/

Do you have stories to tell? Connect with Linda to share them. This podcast is produced by TSE Studios. Check out other podcasts by TSE Studios, including this episode’s sponsor, The Sales Evangelist, helping new and struggling sellers close more deals and achieving their sales goals.

Subscribe to the IntHERrupt Podcast so you won’t miss a single show. Find us on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher. Audio created by Ryan Rasmussen Productions

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