Monday, April 14, 2008

How Your Dad Influenced Your Career

Tomorrow on my Blog Talk Radio show, I'm going to interview Dr. Stephan Poulter, who I wrote about last week regarding his take on how mothers influence us in both our private and professional lives.

I thought it might be helpful to also look at a story I did with Poulter a couple of years ago, when he wrote about how fathers influence us in our careers.

In his book, “The Father Factor: How Your Father’s Legacy Impacts Your Career,” Poulter says there are five kinds of fathering styles that create the father factor.

Those are:
• Superachieving: “It’s all about looking good. The fathers work really hard, and they have kids that are very responsible and very driven,” Poulter says. “But there’s also the shame factor – children of these fathers never feel good enough.”
• Time bomb: “This dad is often alcoholic or very volatile and heavy-handed,” Poulter says. “The kids learn early on how to read people in order to survive.” As workers, these people often avoid conflict, yelling and expressing any degree of anger or frustration, emotional tension or dealing with unresolved conflict in the workplace. These workers often have a lot of anxiety, and suffer from low self-esteem on the job.
• Passive: “This father showed his love through his actions. He was very responsible and stable, but lacked courage and motivation,” Poulter says. As a result, these children become workers who are emotionally distant, which is difficult in today’s labor force where employees may change jobs or careers many times, and need to be able to connect with people again and again. “These are the kinds of kids who grew up with a father that was asleep on the couch and they’d say, ‘Is he asleep or is he dead?’ It was hard to tell because he was so passive. As a result, in the workplace these people have a hard time relating to other males.”
• Absent: “This is the father who is not involved in a child’s life,” Poulter says. “When the first man we love leaves our lives, it often produces an angry or aloof employee in the workplace.” He stresses that a father’s death is a loss, but his involuntary departure versus a voluntary exit creates a different effect on children. “Absent fathering – from indifference to physical abandonment – will lead to a coping with profound sadness or to anger issues such as violence, criminal behavior and white collar crime.”
• Compassionate mentor. “This is where we all want to be, what we should all work toward,” Poulter says. “These fathers help a child find a roadmap and help center them. In the workplace, these are the children that grow up to motivate people around them, and empower others, as they were as children.”


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