IAm Heather Morrow
Blogs Heather Morrow, CIA,CFE, CRMA Mar 21, 2023
Children keep you on your toes. You never know what to expect when raising children, and that’s certainly true for me. Not only do I have a 16-year-old daughter, but I also have six nieces and nephews ranging in age from two to nine. I am lucky to have such a close relationship with them. I have some of them over several times a month, and when they are at my house, anything can happen!
Whether I’m breaking up fights between the two older nephews over whose auntie I am or having impromptu concerts (generally Frozen-themed, but occasionally another Disney movie will compete), I must remain flexible and adaptable to keep up with them.
My flexibility was really tested when I was called upon to help house and raise my nieces twice in the last five years. Having three small children thrust upon me with no more than a few hours’ notice made my life unpredictable, but the bond I created with my nieces and the changes I had to make to myself to succeed were worth the difficulties encountered along the way.
Taking care of that many small children and dealing with the jealousy my daughter faced in having to share her mom propelled me to become a stronger, more resilient, and more adaptable person. These changes helped in my career as well. There have been plenty of times in my career when things went sideways, such as unidentified risks popping up during an audit, or a problem arising within the organization requiring immediate attention. Having already been tested in my personal life made dealing with these challenges in my professional life easier.
Internal auditors negotiate with their business partners quite often, such as on how to word an issue in an audit report or when to start an audit. Practicing negotiating skills with people who think they are the center of the universe and have little regard for the wants and feelings of others makes negotiating with business partners so much easier. Children are expert negotiators (mostly using their adorableness to their advantage), and negotiating whose turn it is to pick a movie or game or what we’re having for dinner is a great way to keep your negotiating skills up to speed.
Interpersonal Conflict Training
Articulating the issues at hand in a way that doesn’t damage your relationship is also an important skill for auditors to master. My nieces and nephews certainly let me know when my negotiations have failed, so finding creative ways to solve problems is imperative. At home and at work, you become used to making deals that keep everyone happy and your sanity intact.
Dealing with people you love who test your patience helps give you the skills to deal with other people to whom you don’t have a strong attachment but who also test your patience. Auditors can sometimes find themselves dealing with challenging business partners, either due to personality clashes or a lack of appreciation for what you provide to an organization. However, the skills gained from dealing with interpersonal conflict in your personal life can be a blessing in your professional life.
You don’t have to have children to reap the benefits. If you want to practice your skills related to adaptability, negotiating, or managing interpersonal conflict and you don’t have children of your own, I encourage you to find a volunteer activity that centers around children. It’s a great way to practice those skills — and make a difference in a child’s life.