Leadership starts with leading your life

Leadership starts with you – “Do as I say, don’t do as I do”, is a sure way to fail as a parent.  Whether it’s to try on your shoes, your makeup, or to copy your speech, your kids are watching and learning.  Kids, as well as staff and colleagues watch and copy what are considered “best” behaviours.  A healthy or toxic workplace is defined by the behaviour of individuals, and of course, the higher up the ladder, the more influence you have over others, in the same way your kids learn from who you are and what you do (not from what you say!).  If you are on the verge of burnout as a leader, if you don’t respect yours or other people’s needs for rest and time off, you are most likely surrounded with people who attempt to do the same – they learned from you and they too, are on the verge of burnout.

Leadership starts with leading your life – Too many executives and managers with great commitment and potential think that what makes them great in their organizations is outworking everyone, and giving out everything they have: their brain power, their time, their health – their life. They might be working well for a few days or months  but they won’t last long at that level. They will be burning out, as they haven’t focused on refuelling themselves so they are resilient for the long term.

What are your “reference group” values?  Whether or not you are aware of it, a workplace environment is a micro-community: we refer to it to determine what behaviours are encouraged or frowned upon – this is what a reference group is.  Your family is another one, and so on.  So, what are your workplace “reference group” values?

  • You respect and value one another for the differences and complementarity everyone brings to the work team – you know that what makes a rich team is individual differences and contributions – people are not clones
  • You build trust – people at work & in your life can trust that you are walking your talk
  • You contribute in building a good workplace which makes people motivated, productive and resilient
  • You respect your need to look after yourself and to have a rich, fulfilling personal life – you disconnect from work on evenings and weekends.
  • You walk your talk, in every aspect of your life – and this includes taking care of you today, so you can deliver tomorrow
  • You clarify your topmost priorities at least every day, so you can de-clutter your agenda and your schedule  – you know there are always more demands than time and energy and you address this proactively

Building leadership into your life starts with you, one day at a time – A healthy workplace starts with you.  Taking the lead in your life starts with what you do.  And people who feel entitled to take care of themselves and to have a rich personal life are engaged, motivated, productive and resilient.


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