As a leadership coach, I help clients explore what’s next in their career path. There is often both a desire and a hesitation about stepping into a leadership role and taking on the responsibility of managing a team.
On the positive side there is the opportunity to make a greater impact; to motivate and inspire others; to undertake more challenging and fulfilling work; and to achieve greater financial security.
The hesitation most often comes from a fear that this new role will demand sacrifices in other areas of life.
The truth is that you can step into a major leadership role without sacrificing other areas of your life. What is also true is that leaders must take a stand for balance and be role models within their organization.
Here are five ways leaders can achieve success while maintaining balance in their lives:
1) Build Your Foundation – pay attention to sleep, eating right, and moving your body. Research shows that strategic renewal — including workouts, better sleep, more time away from the office, and vacations — makes you more productive and better at your job. As a bonus, if you role model these behaviours your team will follow your lead.
2) Learn to Delegate – if you are struggling to delegate then make it a priority to discover what is in your way. Perhaps you worry that no one else can do this task as well as you can. Or maybe you fear that you won’t be as important if you hand over key projects. When you move from a front line role to a manager role this shift can be an emotional experience. Ask for help in facing your fears.
3) Do What Only You Can Do – once you face your fears about delegating you will free up time to do the work that you as a leader are uniquely qualified to do. Continue to ask yourself “am I the right person to be doing this?”
4) Stop Multitasking – research shows that when you switch away from a primary task to do something else, you’re increasing the time it takes to finish that task by an average of 25 per cent. Figure out what times of day are your peak energy times, and protect some time for real work. Do whatever you need to do to make this happen – take control of your calendar, have meeting-free times, turn off your email, close your door, or leave the office to work without interruption.
5) Make Time for Thinking – Stop living in reactive mode. Make it a priority to schedule time to think. Explore the future, take time to dream, and focus on your long-range plans. And think strategically about issues your organization is facing now and what it might face in the future. Protect this time as your top priority.
Be intentional about how you lead and you will be able to step into a fulfilling leadership role while maintaining balance.
Janice Cunning, Leadership Coach at FundraisingLeadership.org, is passionate about partnering with fundraisers to help them create an inspired vision that transforms lives.