The work-life balance is the new myth of the millennium. Leaders are very concerned with finding the correct balance between the amount of work and their private life. To achieve this work and life balance, I am looking for a solution to work smarter than harder.
But is it really so? I mean, are managers really more interested in working less, but smarter? And, above all, is this how they train and judge their collaborators? Every year a new book appears with the secrets (?) To live a life that balances work, family and free time. And, of course, thousands of copies are sold. But isn't it enough to use good old common sense to find the right work and life balance? Let's face it, being able to tell friends and acquaintances that you don't even have a breather because of work gives us an inexplicable pleasure and a sense of accomplishment.
All about work-life balance
We feel we have arrived. We look for a work and life balance, but in reality we are pleased not to have found it. How can this contradiction be explained? With our stupid culture of time saturation versus productivity. Our culture, in spite of everything that is said and written, rewards the exhausted and those who work hard. We do not pause too much to distinguish being busy from being productive, because we would be forced to make a judgment of quality and not quantity and this is clearly more tiring.
We reward those who go "above and beyond" (above and beyond) in terms of the amount of work. The result? What is rewarded is replicated, so it doesn't come out. We think of women who do not want to give up motherhood, but who, at the same time, also want to be fulfilled at work, how can they compete if not in terms of quality? It is clear that they are at a disadvantage compared to their colleagues, who can wear out in working days of 12 hours or more.
It is also obvious that males also gain in terms of visibility, hence career. But the industrious bee syndrome has devastating effects also on the physical level: high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, depression and anxiety. So what can be done? We continue to read books by sorcerers and gurus who explain us the secrets of a happy existence or, more simply, do we begin to change that silly and suicidal culture of quantity vs quality? It is the leaders who must begin to change the corporate culture.
It is they who must lead by example and who must encourage their collaborators not to measure others and themselves in terms of hours / work, but in terms of results. The myth of the office light being turned on late must be definitively abandoned.
If you are a leader and a member of your team tells you that he worked late the other day, ask him a simple question: why?
About the author
Giuseppe Ando is a C-Level & Executive Coach - Associate Partner at the acclaimed Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching. With a career that presides at the crux of the Venn diagram of Passion, Skills, and Experience, Giuseppe’s reputation as top executive coach has spanned decades. Among his many accolades, he is also recognized for his unique ability to understand and inspire those he coaches to excel professionally and personally while also delivering their organization’s desired results.