Communications consultant Patty Ann Tublin specialises in helping businesswomen become leaders while still “having a life”
Women's advocate says females must change approach
Women must stop trying to multi-task and must stop sabotaging each other if they ever want to find that elusive work-life balance, says the communications consultant and author Patty Ann Tublin.
Ms Tublin, a registered nurse and clinical psychologist, has worked as a traditional relationship counsellor for over three decades. But it was thanks to the wife of one client, a chief executive, that she branched out into business consultancy, too; the woman told her husband that his work team could also do with Ms Tublin’s brand of advice.
Consequently, Ms Tublin has been offering corporations and entrepreneurs support in "soft skills" - as well as continuing to work with couples - under the umbrella of her Relationship Toolbox business since 2004. “It’s still relationship skills, just a different platform,” she says. “Other than intimacy, it’s the same issues - trust, respect, goal-setting.”
Those soft skills include emotional intelligence, diversity and inclusion, communication, conflict resolution and work-life balance; all help to “increase the bottom line”, the mother of four adult children says.
Ms Tublin - who lives in Stamford, Connecticut, with her husband, an executive coach - specialises in helping businesswomen become leaders while still “having a life”, which she calls an “evergreen issue”. She was in Dubai last month to speak at Naseba Global WIL Economic Forum on the subject.
“I’m so passionate about empowering women to be successful,” she adds. “Women hold up half the sky. We are half the consumers and control how most of the household money is spent - it blows my mind that women are not represented in the C-suite. When women are successful in business, they enrich not only themselves but the communities in which they live.”
The biggest issue for women today is their career – they tend to have their family and relationships organised, Ms Tublin believes. In some ways, she says, it gets easier the higher one climbs the career ladder: “You get more flexibility as you go up, as you have more staff”.
But, she adds, juggling everything is not the answer. “We used to think multi-tasking was the be-all and end-all - I wore mine like a badge of honour. I was so wrong.”
According to the study, No Task Left Behind? Examining the Nature of Fragmented Work, by Gloria Mark, Victor Gonzalez and Justin Harris of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science at the University of California, people were interrupted and moved from one project to another about every 11 minutes; each time, it took some 25 minutes to return to full focus on the original project.
And, warns Ms Tublin, women must “start with the sisterhood and stop sabotaging each other”.
“As one seat opens up at the table, women have been fighting for it like cats and dogs. I have seen that change - ever so slowly - over the last two decades. As more women advance, they are more inclined to help others up. And if you do get a seat, do not take notes or get the coffee. You have just removed yourself from the table,” she points out.
Ms Tublin, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology and duel master’s degrees in clinical social work and nursing, is also the author of two books - Not Tonight Dear, I’ve Got A Business To Run and Money Can Buy You Happiness. She got “so much grief” with that title, she says, but insists that money “gives us options” and takes “stressors” away - having enough money to “pay the bills, to put the kids through school, to live in a neighbourhood with good schools”.
As part of her work with women, she encourages them to ensure they are paid in line with their value. “My approach is always to work on the mind-set of the individual woman; we cannot wait for the world to catch up or legislate that we should be paid what we are worth.
“Women have been raised, wherever they are around the world, to be a good girl - and good girls don’t negotiate for themselves or speak up for themselves. Women think that if they keep their head down and work hard, it will be obvious to management that they should be paid what they’re worth.
“Women feel it is a taboo to make it appear that they are working for money - which, of course, they are. If women do not advocate for themselves to make more money, the chances are that they won’t get it.” But, she warns, if they do step up to the negotiating table, they need to remember to negotiate based on facts, not emotion.
So what is the real secret to good work-life balance? Obliterating guilt, Ms Tublin insists. “The only way women can achieve balance is to alleviate the ever-present, tortuous feeling of guilt surrounding the pursuit of a career. When you’re at work you feel guilty for not being at home; when at home, you feel guilty for not working.
“It is not healthy for anyone, man or woman, to have their life consumed by work. It is your responsibility as a working woman, mother or not, to tell your work that you have a life and to set and communicate boundaries.
“We are becoming emotionally disconnected from our family and, when we’re at work, we allow ourselves to be distracted emotionally - it’s a vicious circle," Ms Tblin adds.
"Nothing gets our full attention, nothing gets the better of us, then we feel guilty.”