Finding balance as is an ongoing battle most leaders struggle with constantly. It is also a question I am asked frequently from far too many leaders who are feeling burned out or overwhelmed. Though there are no easy answers to this leadership challenge, here are three simple suggestions that have helped me find balance in my career.
#1 Start Unbalanced
Every new leader or executive needs to put in the work upfront. What I mean is that leaders should go in to new opportunities with the expectation that for the first few months life will be busy and it will be unbalanced.
Rather than striving for balance in the beginning, leaders should focus on spending whatever time it takes to get the right people on the bus and the best systems in place as soon as possible. Once this happens, it will free up time in a big way and allow for better work-life balance.
At times, I see leaders who, from the very beginning, try to maintain balance while slowly implementing the right systems and methodically replacing the wrong people. Too often this approach leads to never ending problems and issues. Thus, what could have taken a few months with the right focus, now takes years and years. As a result, balance is never achieved.
#2 Invite Family
For those struggling with balance between work and family time, invite your family to be a part of what you do. Involve them in work whenever possible. For example, if there is an after work gathering or holiday celebration in the office, invite your family to join.
If you are working on a project from home, ask the opinion and thoughts of your spouse and children. Let them know what you are working on and why it matters.
If there are some things around the office family members may be able to help with, invite them to come and help.
Getting your family involved at work does a few positive things. First, it allows you to be together more often under the same roof. Second, calling home and telling your spouse that you’re going to be late because your colleague Tom needs some assistance, (and your spouse has gotten to know Tom personally) helps your family be more understanding and supportive.
I’ve found that when I look for them, there are more opportunities to invite my family in to my work than I had imagined.
By looking for opportunities to invite my family to be involved and helping them to get to know my team, I’ve been able to find more balance.
#3 It’s All About Team
For leaders, your team makes all the difference. If you find the right people in your most important positions and then support them, it will change your life.
A bad team without cohesion equals extremely long work weeks while a good team that is unified and engaged equals manageable work weeks. It’s that simple. Thus, leaders should be relentless about surrounding themselves with the best people and then fostering a healthy work environment.
Finding balance is important because balanced leaders are able to perform better, be more consistent, avoid burnout, and achieve greater results.
To find balance as a leader prepare to start unbalanced, invite your family to join in the fun at work, and remember to do whatever it takes to surround yourself with the right team. By doing these three things I’ve had better balance between my work and personal life. I know that by doing them, you can too!