There is a story about a business school that, when students begin an MBA business programme, will tell them to bring a photograph of their family and then advise them to say goodbye to their families for two years.

Jon Foster-Pedley, dean of Henley Business School Africa, says studying for an MBA shouldn’t change the family. “The bedrock of society is the family. To be successful in business does not only mean financial success but also having a balance in social and family life.”

“Henley’s MBA creates an environment where people are able to grow in all areas of their lives. We want families to be involved, provide support and grow as well.”

Robin Booth, speaking at Henley’s monthly Family Friendly event this past weekend for current MBA students, alumni, their partners and children, said that positive parenting is crucial for students in reducing stress while studying the programme.

Mr Booth is an internationally-recognised speaker, running courses on positive parenting. He has worked with the likes of Sylvestor Stallone, Al Pacino, Jack Welch and Steve Wozniac.

He said that the solution lies in raising parents’ and childrens’ emotional intelligence, growing self-esteem and changing the small things. “One in four divorces are the result of a conflict in parenting styles. We are not saying there should not be conflict, but it is important to manage that conflict. Look for common ground.”

“There is also a financial cost if a child does not cooperate. Parents are finding that by reducing conflict in the home they can save up to two hours a day in conflict resolution. This applies to the business environment as well.”

Mr Booth said that childrens’ personalities fall into traits or categories in ways similar to how we categorise successful businesspeople. For example, Jack Walsh, former CEO of General Motors and voted the top CEO in the US at the time, is categorised as a ‘Supporter’. Oprah Winfrey as a ‘Star’; Richard Branson, a ‘Creator’; Donald Trump, a ‘Deal Maker’; George Soros, a trader; Warren Buffet, an ‘Accumulator’; and Mark Zuckerberg, a ‘Mechanic’.

Zuckerberg and Buffet are more introverted than Winfrey, Walsh and Trump. But an extroverted person may not necessarily want to be on television like Winfrey, while Buffett, to a certain extent, is extroverted, even though his job involves a large amount of analysis.

“Children at an early age can be associated with one of these categories and a parent may be able to identify the trait in which they fall, nurturing those strengths at an early age. The solution therefore is to improve communication as a parent.”

A child hears the word ‘no’ numerous times throughout their lives, which has a negative effect. When a child is told to do something in an authoritative way, the chances are they won’t do it. No one likes to take orders.

“As an example, rather than saying to your child, ‘you had better get dressed now’ – it is better to say ‘would you prefer to wear the blue or the red shoes today?’ This gives the child a choice and takes away the authoritative tone,” says Mr Booth.

“The quality of a relationship is directly proportional to the quality of the communication within that relationship. And the quality of the communication is directly proportional to the awareness (consciousness) and understanding each person has of the other person’s reality.”

“You can easily develop your skills in communication (which will result in increased affinity to the other person) and you can develop structures and skills to understand their world better which will result in increased affinity,” Mr Booth concludes.