Good leaders maintain a healthy work-life balance. They communicate that this is something they value in others, too. They establish a pattern for their personal life – whether it’s being home for dinner four nights a week, attending choir practice, or being a part of their kids’ school activities. They provide opportunities, whether through flexible scheduling or unpaid leave time, for people to lead fulfilling personal lives. This inspires high levels of trust throughout the organization.
Michele, the managing partner of a law firm in San Francisco, makes it clear that she values her time with her family. She’s up front about her personal time and her need to attend her children’s soccer and softball games. “These are just too important for me to miss,” she says.
Michele doesn’t set a double standard, however. What goes for her goes for the other lawyers and employees in her firm. As a result, people can leave work early to attend a special event for their families or can get time off to care for a family member. It’s part of the culture, based on Michele’s deeply held personal values. And she would have it no other way.
David, the executive director of a non-profit agency, has a deep passion for travel and eco-tourism. For relaxation and vacations, he takes his family to places where he is out of contact with his office – often for several days. He makes it clear that this is an important part of his life, a time for him to recharge his batteries and renew his focus. His team of managers is fully supportive of David’s travels “off the grid” because they know they are free to do the same themselves.
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