Reading & Reflecting: Executives and Work-Life Management

Inc.com recently posted an article, The Ultimate Balance: How Top Execs Juggle Work, Family, which gives tips for managing your professional and personal lives while maintaining a demanding career. Author, Jannie Popick, touches on everything from setting boundaries to outsourcing errands. Popick writes,

Having boundaries is incredibly helpful for managing time and expectations. Make sure that your team is clear about these boundaries and can work around them, and of course that you’re able to still reliably meet your responsibilities.

I have written on the topic of work life management several times. Aside from tactics, like those suggested by Popick, it is important to be realistic, both with yourself and those around you. Balance often implies that we can have equal parts of everything, but that is simply not the case. You cannot actually balance everything, but you can manage it – and still enjoy both sides. You must be flexible and continuously make adjustments to make it work for you. And when you find what works for you, commit to it and communicate it.

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What I’m Reading Now: Leadership Skills At Every Level

The fundamental techniques that drive your success never change. Think about how many free throws Michael Jordan must have practiced, or how many jabs Mike Tyson threw. Top athletes like them never stop practicing their basic building blocks even after rising to the top of the professional ranks. So why do people believe leaders at different levels need to focus and develop different core skills?

What I’m reading now: Coaching & managing

But the most effective managers who are also effective coaches learn to be selective about giving direction. Rather than use their conversations as an opportunity to exert a strong influence, make recommendations, and provide unambiguous direction, they take a step back, and try to draw out the views of their talented, experienced staff.

What I’m reading now: We is Bigger Than You

Have you ever noticed how sports fans talk about their favorite sports team? Right, everything they say is about we: ‘we won the game’, ‘we should not have used this tactic’, ‘luck was not on our side’. If your employees, customers and other stakeholders are talking about ‘we’, this is a sign that you are really reaping the benefits from ‘murmuration’, with everyone flying together in perfect harmony and positive spirit.

What I’m reading now: Stop Trying to Control People or Make Them Happy

No amount of structures, processes, and systems are ever enough to anticipate the kinds of problems employees face everyday on the front line of the business. So, instead, companies need to give their employees more autonomy and, at the same time, encourage them — impel them, even — to cooperate with each other. Only then, when they are liberated in this way, will employees be able to make critical judgments, balance complex trade-offs, and come up with creative solutions to new problems.

What I’m reading now: Leadership Excellence: Not for the Faint of Heart

Sadly, I think all of us have encountered people along the way whose fears and insecurities kept them from being the leaders they were capable of becoming—leaders who lack the courage to match their proverbial “talk” to the reality of their “walk.”

A thank you to Bruce Kneuer for sharing this post with me on Twitter!

What I’m reading now: Leadership, Power and Contextual Intelligence

Contextual intelligence is an intuitive diagnostic skill that helps a leader to align tactics with objectives to create smart strategies in new situations. It implies both a capability to discern trends in the face of complexity as well as adaptability while trying to shape events. Like surfers, leaders with contextual intelligence have the judgment to adjust to new waves and ride them to success.