Forums

This is the flip side of the post about how to handle a pregnant direct report. I'm expecting myself, and planning to take 3 months off toward the end of this year after the baby is born. I am the only female manager in the department so I am in somewhat uncharted territory. I've found a million pieces of advice about how to tell MY boss that I'm expecting, but nothing about how to let my direct reports know. I'm hoping some other MT members out there have some advice.

My team will want to know how this impacts them. Not all of the managers in our group have seen the MT light! So my folks are probably going to wonder what will happen to their O3s and that kind of thing. I think they will also wonder who they will be reporting to, will it be one of my peers, will they be split up into other groups temporarily, etc. I have a few people who are likely going to have individual concerns as well (I was hoping for a promotion at the end of the year, what will happen if my manager isn't there; what happens to my project; etc.)

Here were my ideas, feedback appreciated!
- Talk to my boss first (of course) and let him know my plans for leave - I've done the homework for that already
- Ask him to keep it quiet until I could let my team know - I want them to hear it from me
- For what will happen when I'm gone, suggest to my boss that I talk to my team and understand their concerns, get any suggestions from them, and then come back and talk through a plan with him
- Tell the team together at our weekly staff meeting and then follow up in our weekly O3s on any individual questions or concerns
- Ask them for any questions or concerns that they have and make sure there is a plan to work through them

Thanks in advance for any suggestions! Also any tips on what to do to make the transition before and after my leave go more smoothly would also be welcomed.

pneuhardt's picture

First, congratulations! As the parent of two I can say there have been few times in my life as exciting as waiting on the arrivals of my children.

Now, how to deal with work.

- I would prepare interim performance reviews on every person on your team, and keep them updated as much as possible before you begin your leave. Make sure they each have a copy of their own report and that your boss has a copy of all the reports. If appropriate and allowed in your company's policy, make sure that any other manager taking over your team in the interim also has a copy of the reports for the people they will supervise. This allows your voice to be heard even while you are out on leave should a personnel decision (promotion, assignment to a new project, training, etc.) need to be made in your absence.

- Work with your boss to put the plan in to place for your absence and have it ready to go before your third trimester. Communicate that plan to your directs once it is known. Hey, you never know when you might get put on bed rest or the new addition decides to come 3 weeks early. Once it is communicated, that's it. Unless you have to change it, don't talk about it over and over. More on that later.

- If you can work at home, putting a plan in to place to do so for the latter weeks of your pregnancy wouldn't be a bad idea either. With our second my wife had some very painful sciatica and being able to work without having to drive in to the office helped her out a lot on bad days.

- Don't go overboard on figuring out how to make everybody comfortable during your leave. Certainly your team members have valid personal concerns and a good manager will listen and try to work with them on those concerns. But having someone go on leave or leave the company alltogether is something that just happens. It should be treated as another staffing issue to deal with and move on from. Nothing more, nothing less.

In the thread about how to tell people about another's pregnancy, I suggested making sure everyone hears a message similar to, "This is a perfectly normal thing and there is no reason to alter the way we conduct our business over it." I would suggest that is the message to deliver here as well. It's an exciting and life-altering time for you personally, but it shouldn't be behavior altering for anyone at work.

Mark's picture

MH2007-

Sorry this took me so long.

Congratulations! You and your baby are far more important than your work. I hope all goes wonderfully and you are as happy as a mother as I have been as a father of three. Parenthood ROCKS.

What Paul has offered is very good. I would add one point.

When you tell your boss, I recommend you present both a plan for your announcement - which has you delivering the news - and a plan for while you are out. This is your boss's chance to give input on how things are going to run while you are out. Who is taking over? Will they all report to him, etc. THAT should be part (TWO) of your announcement. Ala:

"Here's some news..."

"And here's what it means..."

Some say don't do this, because it precludes team members from being involved in the solution. I disagree. I think this is your and your boss's decision, and if someone has good input, you can still make changes.

Don't worry too much about those who act as if, "what are we going to DO?" Its inevitable. Just stay the course

Keep us posted!

Mark