As a leader who struggled with balance early in my career, I defined ‘Balance’ as one of the principal values of the account I later led. I learned first hand that managing this tension well was good for business. I shared my own personal journey and sought to ensure the long-term viability and engagement of our team while maximizing productivity and general wellness.
In support of my own balance, I established a routine taking my daughter to a four hour gymnastics practice every Saturday morning. I spent this time in the lobby catching up on a week’s worth of emails and administrative activities. This freed the remainder of my weekend to focus on faith, family, and other personal priorities without the weight of lingering work demands. And it offered the added benefit of a weekly lunch date and special time with my daughter.
While this routine served me well, it had an unintended consequence on my team that was counter to the values I professed. My colleagues soon became accustomed to a flurry of work emails sent from ‘the boss’ every Saturday morning. And, I had the audacity to complain to my wife about the barrage of work emails I seemed to be receiving every Sunday.
One day, I questioned one of my Program Managers about the weekend emails they were sending to me. She tactfully informed me that I was sending the message that weekend work was the expectation, not the exception. Though not intended, my actions conveyed a message that was not consistent with the values I professed. In response, I shared this story with my team and took greater caution as to when and how I sent messages that required actions in response.
Where might your actions appear to be inconsistent with your professed values? Do you promote an open door policy, yet work behind closed doors? Do you emphasize excellence, yet tolerate incompetence? Or perhaps you encourage flexibility, yet impose a structured approach?
As a leader, it is critical to not only leverage your values as a filter for your decisions, but also for your actions. Ask yourself how your actions and routines may be perceived by others. Better yet, ask others if your actions are consistent with the values you profess. Authentically share your findings and ‘CEEK…a Better Way.’