Prof. Dr. Claudia Peus in MyCollective podcast: How parenthood influences our leadership style

What are the most important skills women being on parental leave can acquire? What are essential future leadership competencies? And which views do leaders all around the world have on career and parenthood? Being a recent guest in MyCollective’s podcast “Get Inspired”, TUM Institute for LifeLong Learning’s Founding Director Prof. Dr. Claudia Peus drew both on her international research and on personal experiences as leader and parent to answer these questions.

The relevance of the topics are explained easily by looking at the essence of the initiative: MyCollective has developed a leadership program for people during parental leave with the aim of keeping them on their desired career path. One of the first questions by Dr. Ricarda Engelmeier, Founder and CEO, consequently centered on the skills women and men being on parental leave can acquire in a lifelong learning approach. Three things come to Prof. Dr. Peus mind: The most important leadership skills are building know-how about the latest technological advancements, understanding human needs and how to cater to them and finally, develop an internal value compass.

Parental leave as great opportunity for lifelong learning and continuing education

“You don’t need to be a specialist in the latest tech development, but you should know what’s out there and be able to evaluate the potential of technologies on your business model or company culture”, emphasizes Prof. Dr. Peus. Her advice: People on parental leave could use the time to dig deeper into the topic of technologies and back in the office eventually, be the one to know what’s going on in future-relevant areas for the organization.

Parenthood has an influence on notion of leadership

During her research, Prof. Dr. Peus connected with a number of female leaders world-wide and noticed that the idea of either having a “linear” career or dropping out because you need to take care of your children starts to shift. While in the US, both parents working is most common, Germany, for example, currently starts to embrace individual career paths. “People also recognize that it’s not only okay but necessary to return to university to update their skills – and continuously go back”, Prof. Dr. Peus explains, underlining the importance of a lifelong learning approach during a decades-long career.

Being a mother, which parenting skill proved most helpful for Prof. Dr. Peus personally, when connecting them with her leadership role at the Technical University of Munich? „Humans want to learn, you don’t have to push them – but you have to provide the right environment for learning”, she says. “I strive to set up an environment where people want to learn, be curious and try out things the way that kids do – and multitasking certainly helps.”

You can listen to the whole podcast and other episodes here.

At the TUM Institute for LifeLong Learning, we’re also having a podcast – you can find the link to all episodes here.

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