Are You Inspiring Others By Balancing Your Work And Other Things That Are Important To You?

Posted by Rick DeMarco on 16 July 2015

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In a book he wrote before he died of lymphoma, Paul Tsongas, a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts made the statement that “ No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office’”. Today, in our fast paced world, work/life balance can be a challenge. And yet, effective leaders find a way to balance the things that are important to them and to their relationship with others. An engaged workforce is one in which people are passionate about what they do and that passion is driven by both the work they are doing and the values and beliefs reflected in their behavior. One of the primary motivators for employees today is the opportunity to have an impact. It’s not just about the compensation. It’s about doing meaningful work and making a difference.  And that happens when people are able to find a balance between their work and other things that are important to them and to those around them.

There are basically six areas in which we can decide to spend our time and effort:

  1. Our careers
  2. Our financial position
  3. Our family
  4. Our friends
  5. Our health
  6. Our spirituality

Stan Slap, author of Bury Your Heart in Conference Room B, says that unless an employee can live out their values in the workplace, companies will never earn 100% loyalty and engagement. And those values are manifested in the way in which we allocate our time and efforts to these six areas. Sure, a company can obtain temporary loyalty with compensation, benefits, stock options, etc. But total engagement and loyalty only comes when there is an alignment between both a belief in the vision and strategy and in the behaviors and beliefs that define the culture.

We’ve all known people who don’t pay any attention to their health until they face a medical crisis. Or lose contact with friends for years and years. Or neglect their families to focus on their job, only to regret those lost years when children have grown or family members have died. Effective leaders make conscious decisions regarding work/life balance and the areas in which they spend their time and efforts. They don’t let it happen to them. And by consciously making these choices, they inspire others and engage them in their cause by creating a culture in which people are empowered to make their own conscious choices.

Now don’t get me wrong, engaged and inspired employees deliver and perform at high levels. But they don’t do so at the expense of families, friends, health, or their values and beliefs. When I first joined Inward, I didn’t understand why our CEO, Allan Steinmetz, would never schedule meetings past a certain time on Friday or why I would often hear from him on a Sunday, but never on a Saturday. After working with him for 6 months, I learned that although he never missed a deadline with a client or failed to over deliver on his commitments, he has a strong commitment to his family and to his faith and balances that commitment with his role as our CEO. This commitment to work/life balance has truly inspired everyone who works for Inward to find our own personal balance, myself included.    

Effective leadership means making conscious choices about how we allocate our time and efforts. And it is not an either/or situation. In fact, those who are able to spend time on other things that are important to them are more engaged, more passionate, and more loyal to the organizations for which they work. Are you spending time on the things that are important to you and inspiring others to do the same? If you want to be part of a fully engaged and inspired workforce, it’s time to take stock of your work/life balance and make some conscious decisions that reflect your values and beliefs.