As leaders, we work hard to drive our organization’s objectives and results. Relentless leadership can have a price if not kept in focus. As leaders, we are more aware of planning and goal setting for our business, but our attention to the big picture of our lives (work personal impact AND personal life) is harder to carve out time to think about. Every leader is going to be more effective if they take the time to be a balanced leader.
What does this mean? A balanced leader pays attention to all areas of their life. While it is a continual effort to manage the different aspects of a leader’s busy life, the art of balance is intentional and aware of giving time and attention to all areas. Each area does not need to have the same amount of attention, but it must have some.
In today’s busy, fast-paced and demanding world, even the best leaders have to work to stay in tune to indicators that let them know when they might be getting “out of balance”. There are signs that indicate a lack of balance or disengagement. If you want to stay a top performer, you have to be aware of your signs and work to maintain balance.
The art of maintaining balance is:
- It is not a quick fix (for exhausted, disengaged or overworked leaders).
- It is not an easy one-step action or solution (it is a process).
- It is not linear; it is a holistic concept.
- It is proven with executives and top professionals.
(reference: The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr)
To consider your balance you might look at a few areas of your life. For me, I usually find the 8 pie pieces to be a good life snapshot: Family, Friends, Faith, Finances, Fun, Your Environment, Health and Work. In the book The Power of Full Engagement, the authors break these into 4 areas that are spiritual, emotional, mental and physical.
Both breakdowns are valuable to look at. The first helps you to look at the different areas of your life. The second helps you to assess the impact your life is having on you. The areas mentioned in the first create positive or negative results in the second listing of areas.
Here are a few tips for honing the art of balance in your busy leader life.
1. Focus on one area at a time. Even if you do one area one month and one the next, pick one. You would not want to shift focuses more often than once a month. If you want to make progress, see change and get results, you need a month of effort to design, try, implement and create a new pattern before you shift your focus to something else.
2. Notice your energy. Your energy will help you assess if you are on or off track in an area. There might be areas that you really don’t feel like thinking about. This could be an area you really need to think about. If there was nothing wrong here, you would not be subconsciously avoiding it. You might be in (?) an area that you are really excited to think about and spend lots of time on, notice how this area might be consuming all your time and energy and getting you out of balance with the other areas OR it might be a “productive” way to avoid an area you would rather not think about.
3. Have a plan. Once you pick an area to focus on that is going to benefit your life balance, create a plan of action that you are going to do weekly and monthly to keep this area in your mind. If it were easy to give this area attention it would not be an area that you need to work on. If you are working in an area that is easy, double check and make sure that is the BEST area for you to focus on. I am not saying life has to be hard, I am just saying it is human nature to work on what we enjoy and avoid what we don’t (i.e. diet, workout, bad relationship, nagging spouse, annoying employee, finances, etc.)
Get more out of life, work and your team with BALANCE. You will be more successful, more productive and get better results in all areas when you take the time to do this.