Role Model Corner – Julian Taylor
- What led you to work flexibly?
It was 2005. I’d recently been made a partner and had two young children (aged 3 and 1) but wasn’t really seeing them during the week because of the hours I was doing. I was keen to avoid becoming a weekend dad, so moved to an arrangement whereby, on a Wednesday, I’m off in the afternoon and work at home in the morning. It’s obviously been good for my home life but it’s also increased my motivation at work because it led to me feeling more positive about the relationship I had with my job. It’s also helped my wife to continue with her career.
- Working in leadership roles, have you found self-confidence and resilience has come naturally or is it something that you have had to nurture?
I’ve always been fairly resilient, I think, but it’s also something I’ve found has improved with experience. There’s stuff that happens now – it might be a forthright email or an idea of mine being shot down in a meeting – which would have bothered me more several years ago. Time has helped me to get things like that in perspective more and not to sweat the small stuff so much.
- Do you have any tips?
I would encourage more men (as well as women) to work flexibly. If you can afford the cut in pay, the benefits are enormous and I think concerns around career detriment are often based more on perception than reality. You can always do it on a pilot basis to see if it works for everyone.
- In what ways do you approach your career differently now, to how you did when you first started out?
When I started out I didn’t have children and was focused on my career. My career is still very important to me, but it’s also a priority for me every day to leave the office at a decent time so I can get home and see my children. With that, has needed to come an acceptance that my “to-do” list for the day is rarely (never?) completed. I blame the list rather than myself!
- What do you see as the biggest challenges for working parents today?
There’s a lot of pressure – increased pressure at work for a lot of people, financial pressures, pressure on children, pressure on parents to produce perfect children (without putting too much pressure on them …). And amidst all of that, we all seem to be searching for that magical “balance”. Not really surprising that it doesn’t seem to be in easy reach!
- How do you look after yourself physically and mentally?
I sometimes have to log on once the children are in bed but try to avoid working too late in the evenings as that tends to affect my sleep. I also don’t work at the weekend or on holiday unless it’s completely unavoidable. I run a couple of times a week to help me physically and eat a lot of chocolate to help me mentally.
- If you’d known then, what you know now… is there anything that you’d want to go back and change?
There have been times I have lost perspective. So when I was facing my partnership interview, for example, it became this ridiculous “thing” and I hugely over-prepared. I was conscious I could be asked about anything so was doing things like reading back copies of the Economist so I would be well placed to talk about the Brazilian financial system. Madness. And I never read the Economist again.
In the Winter 2017 Edition:
- Welcome to Winter 2017 edition of Coaching Comment
- Geraldine asks if the Trump victory is a call for leaders to see the importance of kindness
- Role Model Corner Julian Taylor
- John Blakey – Is Kindness Irrelevant to Modern Leadership?
- TED Talk – How to gain control of your free time
- Roxanne Hobbs – From tough self-critic to compassionate self
- Six habits for being a kinder person – Jinny Ditzler
- Treat Yourself Kindly in 2017 (10 Tips from the ECC Coach Team)