Six strate­gies for bet­ter bal­ance

Cape Argus - - LIFE -


Com­mu­ni­cate that the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s suc­cess is based on a marathon, not a sprint.

While there will still be high stakes, time-sen­si­tive is­sues like beat­ing a com­peti­tor to mar­ket with a new prod­uct, ac­knowl­edge that en­durance is the goal, and speed is not the best met­ric for long-term suc­cess. You can com­mu­ni­cate this to your team, model it and cre­ate or­gan­i­sa­tional prin­ci­ples around it. Con­sis­tency be­tween what you say and do is es­sen­tial. Re­mind your em­ploy­ees they can’t do their best if they don’t take time to de­com­press.


Hire enough staff, and take turns tak­ing time off. Peo­ple get sick, need to care for fam­ily mem­bers or go on va­ca­tion. Child care falls through. If your team would be se­ri­ously in­ca­pac­i­tated by one per­son’s ab­sence, you have a per­son­nel prob­lem. No one should feel in­dis­pens­able. Al­low­ing team mem­bers to have a breather with­out feel­ing as if things will fall apart re­in­forces trust, col­lab­o­ra­tion and ef­fi­ciency.


Re­mind peo­ple that we all have phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions. Do­ing too much can re­sult in sleep de­pri­va­tion that not only dam­ages our health, but neg­a­tively af­fects our brains’ ex­ec­u­tive func­tions like prob­lem-solv­ing, rea­son­ing and or­gan­is­ing. This af­fects work per­for­mance, or­gan­i­sa­tional health and fi­nan­cial per­for­mance. Peo­ple who work long hours are more likely to drink ex­ces­sively and have health is­sues. Con­versely, mak­ing time for reg­u­lar ex­er­cise con­fers a host of men­tal health ben­e­fits that im­proves on-the-job per­for­mance. En­cour­ag­ing your team to set reg­u­lar, rea­son­able hours sup­ports a healthy life­style, which in turn sup­ports bet­ter team­work.


Dis­trib­ute work more evenly.

Man­agers un­der­es­ti­mate how much time it takes to get some­thing done and as­sign ad­di­tional work to those who are seen as more com­pe­tent and re­spon­si­ble. So the only re­ward for do­ing good work is more work. High per­form­ers have re­ported feel­ing un­happy about oth­ers’ over re­liance on them. Re­as­sign­ing work to other team mem­bers can help pre­vent burnout


Set and keep your bound­aries.

Set­ting and keep­ing your own rea­son­able bound­aries will give oth­ers per­mis­sion to do so. One leader I worked with said she did her best think­ing out­side the of­fice. She’d spend Mon­day morn­ings at home or in a café with her e-mail closed. Com­mu­ni­cat­ing this op­tion for flex­i­bil­ity gave her team mem­bers im­plicit per­mis­sion to do what they needed to achieve their best work.


De­bunk lim­it­ing be­liefs and as­sump­tions. You can get in your own way when it comes to set­ting and keep­ing bound­aries. Sue, a part­ner at a global pro­fes­sional ser­vices firm, des­per­ately wanted to carve out a life for her­self out­side of work.

She re­alised her be­lief was that if she did not work so in­tensely, she would not be suc­cess­ful.

She con­ferred with other pro­fes­sion­als she viewed as suc­cess­ful about how they set and kept bound­aries to have a life out­side work. She saw that their bound­ary-set­ting be­hav­iours fu­elled their suc­cess, rather than ob­struct­ing it.

This helped her to see the flaws in her un­der­ly­ing as­sump­tions. She re­cal­i­brated to have more per­sonal time.

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