I don't believe in work-life balance, it's all life!
Our CEO Lucinda Carney was recently recognised by Computer Weekly as one of 2018’s ‘Most Influential Women in Tech’ and as a team we tweeted that we were naturally very proud of this recognition (as we see how hard she works behind the scenes). I commented on how much we value the effort she puts into ensuring there is an emphasis on work-life balance for her team because she’s always made sure that we have a flexible working culture. Her response was:
Thanks, I don’t believe in work-life balance, it’s all life and we need to feel fulfilled as much as possible
It kind of stopped me in my tracks because how true is that – it’s all life and it is not humanly possible to always distinguish between what we perceive to be work related matters and those we attribute to our home environment!
Lucinda’s comment reminded me of a course that she delivered to me when we both worked for Siemens (many moons ago), Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Many of you will already be familiar with the messages from that book, if not I highly recommend you read it or better still try to attend the programme, it gives you an open perspective on many different situations. Lessons from that course have stayed with me for life including my favourite ‘seek first to understand and then to be understood’ – basically don’t jump to conclusions before knowing the background to the situation, quite a valuable work-life lesson!
Her tweet also made me think of a conversation I had with one of my best friends who is currently going through a personal crisis (I obviously won’t go into the details here), but she feels the need to resign from her job because the crisis at home has impacted her ability to always maintain the cheerful façade at work, life is getting in the way! At this time there is no work-life balance in her mind, work is just applying additional pressure by maintaining the workload expectations and showing no empathy to her situation and again it made me think about how we as managers and colleagues have to remember how much a personal crisis can impact a person and how their performance may dip slightly whilst they try to get the issue under control.
We obviously all still need the work to be done but being an empathetic manager doesn’t make you a ‘soft’ manager, it ensures that you listen and understand how to still get the best from your employee without breaking them. You create that culture of care and collaborative problem solving. You bring the team together to support their colleague and create safe (but professional) check-in times to successfully manage the employee though the difficult period. Basically, you give the employee some time and space to resolve the immediate crisis whilst having minimum impact on the rest of the team. It’s a fine balance, but it can be done and your employee will thank you for it later and probably become a much more loyal advocate for the company than they were before.
So, in summary, don’t get to Friday and mentally think ‘right, now I can start my life’ (which I’ll admit I’ve done myself on many occasion) because you’ve been living your life for the past 5 days! Whether you’ve been fulfilled during that time is a question you can perhaps ponder yourself and if the answer is no, it’s time to re-evaluate and follow some of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits teachings starting with Habit 1: Be Proactive!
We hope you’re having a fulfilled life today!
If you want to learn more about how Actus Performance Management, headed by Lucinda Carney can drive a highly engaged culture with a real emphasis on year-round performance then feel free to contact us on: Email: [email protected] Tel: 01582 793053 or visit our website: www.actus.co.uk
About Kirsty Meade
An HR Engagement Executive who is passionate about employee engagement and ensuring that year round performance management is as high on the agenda as the sales pipeline. 'You don't monitor your financials once a year so shouldn't do it with your people!'