This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.
Do you work more than 10 hours a day, seven days a week? Are your colleagues on speed dial?
Is your assistant responsible for reminding you when your spouse's birthday is?
No one said being a leader, role model, boss, innovator, and visionary was easy. But running a company or heading up a department or team shouldn't come at the expense of your own happiness.
A happy, well-balanced life means having high-quality time for family, friends, healthy pursuits, relaxation, personal growth, and passionate interests. Does this describe your life?
If not, you need to get your life back. Doing so starts at work. Here are five tips:
1. Resolve to let go.
You need to learn to let things go – not just for yourself, but for the long-term viability of your business. Deciding that you're going to let others take on some of your work is a step unto itself. Executive coaches often bark advice: "Delegate!" But before you can delegate, you need to get clear on all the advantages taking this big step will bring. More time to engage in aspects of work you love. Less workplace stress. Maybe even fewer work hours, which means more time with family and friends. If you're wary about letting go of some of your work, try making a list of benefits so you can see them all in black and white.
2. Focus on your top contribution.
Take an inventory of what you do for your business. What's your highest-value contribution? After you've identified it, make that the role on which you focus. Most of the tasks you do that are not directly in service to this role are the ones you can easily give to others. It may be helpful to have a conversation with a trusted colleague, who can offer a more objective assessment of what you do extremely well that no one else can do. Ask this sounding board what one main activity, skill, or role is the thing that makes you "indispensible."
3. Now, inspire your staff.
Unless you can inspire and motivate your staff, when they hear you're giving them new responsibilities, they may think "just more work for us." Part of getting your life back is giving others a chance to step up into leadership roles.
Before you start doling out jobs to others, thus lightening your load, develop a vision of what you're hoping to accomplish so you can share this with others. For example, let others know that you're diversifying their skill set and giving them more responsibility. Let them know that you recognize untapped strengths and abilities. Having more people learning what you do creates a nimbler, smarter, more resilient team.
4. Don't meddle.
When others take on some of your former tasks, it's essential that you don't micromanage or meddle. Just as you did when you first started, they'll make mistakes, be slow, or not do things exactly the way you want them done. That's how people learn. Require feedback sessions or self-progress reports from them as part of your transition away from less-important tasks and roles. Make that the time to offer suggestions or guidance.
5. Remember why you're doing this.
Do any of these labels fit you: workaholic, control freak, crusader, type-A personality, or shameless career climber? If so, you've probably been "married to your job" for a while now. Getting your life back in balance will require new behaviours – and the change won't happen overnight.
Be alert for those moments when you find yourself saying, "It's easier to just do this myself." If you catch yourself slipping back into overworking and taking on too much responsibility, remind yourself that other parts of your life are screaming out for attention.
The takeaway? Getting your work and life in balance will do great things for you – but it's also good for others. The people outside of work who care about you will be overjoyed that you're so much more relaxed and available.
You'll be developing new leaders and fostering team spirit in your business. And delegating tasks enables you to learn about different team members' strengths and hidden abilities. The time to get your life back is now.
Vicky Oliver (@vickyoliver) is a Manhattan-based job interview consultant and career adviser, and the bestselling author of five career development books, including 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions and 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions.