We Should All Have a Boss Like Joe Biden

Yesterday, a friend sent this to me on twitter:

I think this is tremendous, and sets a great example. The message for managers and bosses everywhere is simple: If Vice President Joe Biden can support the family lives of his employees, so can you. I mean, is his job any less important than yours?

The deeper message for managers is that, by being mindful of your employees’ lives outside of work, you create a culture that maximizes long-term employee commitment and performance. This more than makes up for any performance lost for a day here and there.

Two years ago, I heard Joe Biden speak at the White House Summit for Working Families. He spoke powerfully about his commitment to the family lives of his employees, and how he, early in his political career, put family first. Here’s what I wrote about Joe Biden:

Just before he entered the Senate, his wife and daughter were killed in a car crash, leaving him as a single dad to his two young sons. His extended family, especially his sister, stepped in to help, but he soon found he needed to work outside the normal Senate work pattern to be there for his boys. That’s when he began his now famous daily Amtrak commute from DC to Delaware, and skipped out on almost all procedural and many non-contentions Senate votes in order to be there for them.

In fact, when his opponents attacked him for his spotty voting record (a Senate-low 87%), Biden actually aired an ad saying if he were re-elected, he’d continue to skip out on those votes to be a present father. He was obviously re-elected many times over, and has tried to extend that same flexibility to his staff throughout his career.

He ended with advice for employers, stating that, “you don’t always need a rigid policy, but an awful lot of this just needs a subtle and significant understanding of what working parents have to deal with and letting people know that, as long as they perform, their subtle choices won’t negatively affect their careers.”

Joe Biden is 100% correct. Unfortunately many of us do not have bosses with similar views. Too many managers expect us to put work before family in order to prove ourselves dedicated enough for promotions. This gets in the way of us having full lives outside of work and takes away the valuable time we need to be the dads we want to be.

My friend, Julia Beck, has a saying that “you shouldn’t have to win the boss lottery to have good work-life balance.” She’s right. But for the people who work for Vice President Joe Biden, they have won that lottery.

What do you think about Joe Biden and his message? Any stories to share about your workplace? Let’s discuss in the comments.

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This tweet originated from Scott Smith and is a picture taken of a page in Esquire magazine

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