Happy New Year!
"Getting the most out of life" is not a goal that needs much selling. Most of us would readily admit to not living completely fulfilled lives (whatever that means!), especially those of us suffering from constant work preoccupation (quite often due to that little smart phone in your pocket). Customers, your team, stakeholders, constant email traffic, colleagues ... let's face it, the demands on a manager and leader today do not always foster a healthy work-life balance.
In fact, these days we tend to spend most of the day in reactionary mode dealing with day-to-day work challenges that crop up, rather than being proactive about the work we want to do. This is stressful and frustrating because it takes away people's sense of purpose and causes them to lose sight of the pursuits that energise and attracted them to the role in the first place.
Does any of this sound familiar? If you're looking for a little more balance in your life, know this: finding balance does not necessarily mean working less. Balance is about choice. Doing what fulfills you. That means the freedom to do the work you want to do, rather than the work you have to do.
Here are some tips to help you strike a better balance:
Delegate. Delegation needs to become part of your ongoing behaviour. New work will show up on your desk on a regular basis. If you don't need to deal with it, don't. If it is important that it gets done and someone else can do it, then nine times out of ten you should pass it along. If you're not used to delegating, now is the time to begin. Keep the true value of your time firmly in mind and you will more easily be able to decide if you should or should not be handling the next item in your inbox.
Ensure you have a trusted team. Of course, the more you delegate, the more you'll need to have competent people following through on your behalf. If you don't have a trusted team in place, set out to build one. And always remember that it's your job to clearly communicate what everyone's roles and responsibilities are and to define your expectations.
Create a culture of continuous improvement. Finally, in order to sustain your new well-balanced life, you need to be able to trust that your team is running like a well-oiled machine, whether you're taking off on holiday or escaping to the gym in your lunch hour. You can do this by building a culture of continuous improvement that fosters motivation and growth within your team. Engage your people in the success of your team by sharing your vision and giving everyone a chance to really contribute. And when they do, remember to recognise them.
It may take effort upfront but, if you put these fundamentals in place, you will steadily remove the burden of management from your shoulders and achieve the work-life balance you so desperately crave.
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Jennie Marshall is a double award winning Learning Professional who joined QA in 2011 as a Learning Specialist in our Management, Leadership and Personal Effectiveness team. In her career she has enjoyed a variety of roles within different industries including Estate Agency, Imports and Exports, Financial Services, Call Centres, Utilities and Staff Unions.
In January 2014 she moved to a new role within the same department, as Head of Courseware Development where she was responsible for the overall quality, design, development, administration and coordination of our market leading courseware.
In January 2016 she then moved to a new role of Learning Consultant in the same team, where she now leads the design and delivery of innovative learning programmes linked to business / individual performance improvement for our customers.
She is a respect and trusted advisor within the team, and known for her experienced and dedicated approach to learning and development, with expertise including management, leadership and talent and training and facilitation developed within a variety of environments. Jennie has also supported our customers as a Product Owner on a secondment basis, using Agile methodologies to manage and deliver new learning products to their business. Her experienced was recognised in December 2018 when Jennie was awarded Chartered Manager (CMgr) status.
In her role she acts as lead consultant for a number of large clients and remains frequently involved with the development of various initiatives and programmes from graduate programmes to modular skills development journeys.
Alongside developing great learning products for clients, Jennie also works on refreshing the Management, Leadership and Personal Effectiveness curriculum and is a regular blog contributor on QA.com.
When not absorbed in course development, Jennie can usually be found in her garden, or involved in various pursuits through the Women’s Institute, where she is a Communications Secretary. She also features frequently on her local BBC radio station as a newspaper reviewer.
More articles by Jennie
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