Leadership in a word: Balance

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. - Albert Einstein

A word about balance

The use of the word balance in leadership is hardly a new word. A simple Google search of “work-life balance” generated over 107 million hits. It’s showing up for a reason.

Maintaining a proper balance in your leadership is essential to your success. Dozens of studies have confirmed what most of us already know- when our lives, leadership included, are out of balance those areas in our lives begin to suffer. Or do they?

One approach to the whole work-life balance issue I’ve learned comes from Gary Keller in his book, “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.” In it he writes:

To achieve an extraordinary result you must choose what matters most and give it all the time it demands. This requires getting extremely out of balance in relation to all other work issues, with only infrequent counterbalancing to address them. In your personal world, awareness is the essential ingredient. Awareness of your spirit and body, awareness of your family and friends, awareness of your personal needs -- none of these things can be sacrificed if you intend to “have a life,” so you can never forsake them for work or one for the other. You can move back and forth quickly between these and often combine activities around them, but you can’t neglect any of them for long. Your personal life requires tight counterbalancing.

Perhaps, according to Keller, the answer is not sacrificing one for the other, but in finding that sweet spot of counterbalancing. As it relates to balance, maybe we need to be asking a different set of questions like:

What matters most?

Are you willing to “get out of balance” in order to achieve your goals?

Are you self-aware enough to not neglect other important areas in your life such as family, faith etc.?

The answers to these questions will dictate the trajectory of your leadership and help you establish your priorities. Think through your answers carefully.

Balance quotes

“Man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward.” - Maxwell Maltz

“A well developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” - William Arthur Ward

“There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.” - Jack Welch

“The trick to balance is to not make sacrificing important things become the norm.” - Simon Sinek

A final word

The pursuit of finding balance in our lives - juggling between work, family, raising children, etc. - is a challenge for even the most experienced leader. One of the first steps to success in this area of leadership is found in simply acknowledging the challenge. Approaches to maintaining that work-life balance will differ person to person, but always be conscientious, proactive, and set your boundaries. Too much is riding on the outcome.

©2018 Doug Dickerson

Read more at Dougdickerson.wordpress.com.


A : Stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis
• When the two sides of the scale are in balance
• Tipped the statue off balance

B : Equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements
• … The balance we strike between security and freedom. – Earl Warren
• Both parties were interviewed to provide balance in the report.
• The right balance of diet and exercise

Source: Merriam-Webster

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