Which is More Impactful? Work affects home or home affects work?

Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on

Yesterday I watched numerous proud husbands, wives, moms, dads, siblings, and even children look on as their loved one received a 40 Under 40 Leadership Award hosted by the Triangle Business Journal in Raleigh, NC.  Publisher Charlene Grunwaldt’s closing comments directed attention onto the family members whom she recognized as clearly deserving recognition in their own right. 

Because effective leadership training does not separate personal development from professional development, researchers study the relationship between work and home to determine how much is cause and effect versus correlation, the latter meaning they equally create impact on each other.  It is no surprise that both arenas are impacting each other; however, only hypotheses can be offered regarding which is more impactful, and almost always researchers end up saying, “It depends.” 

Here are some ideas you may find useful in determining what “it depends” upon:

1. Sometimes stressful family circumstances (e.g., special needs child, rebelling adolescent, alcoholic spouse, financial distress, etc.) are handled in a stress-lowering vs a stress-escalating manner.  It depends upon how mature one’s coping mechanisms, which can then transfer to the work place.

2.   Indeed there is such a thing as toxic work environments, and there are ways employees can de-tox before arriving home to avoid displacing their upset onto family members, thereby restoring family peace and harmony.

3. Sometimes people complain about their emotional climate that they unknowingly help create.  If you look at life in fault-finding fashion, your will create reactions from others that offer more to complain about beyond the original stressor.   It depends upon individual differences in how one views life, because we engage life according to how we view it. 

Whether home life affects work more than work life affects home, it all depends upon individual differences because “wherever you go, there you are”! Bottom line here has to do with the degree of self-awareness and emotional intelligence one has nurtured into his or her life.  Chances are good if one were to practice heightened self-awareness in only one arena of life (work or home), it would undoubtedly impact all areas of life. 

The good news is that processes do exist that hone self-awareness within dependable timeframes. Even if your focus is family life improvement, work will routinely and systematically get better.

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