The Life-Work Balance of Servant Leaders

I was recently asked about how I balance the demands of my CEO work life at Datron with my personal life. It’s a very interesting question, in very interesting times. I live in North San Diego County in California, where the weather is great, the coast is beautiful, the mountains are within driving distance, and Disneyland is just up the interstate. In this environment, I really shouldn’t have any challenges in balancing my work life with my personal life. I wish that was true, but it’s time to confess. I’m writing this article on Sunday afternoon from my home office. I really enjoy my life — my work and family — so why am I writing on a Sunday afternoon? Well, I didn’t plan my week well enough to get this article written before the weekend.

I’m not perfect, and neither are you.

Now that confession time is over, let’s get down to the topic for today. To begin, I would challenge you to reorder the words from work-life balance to life-work balance as I’ve done in the title above. At our company, our number one value is “Our Families Come First.” There is no one who is so important to a company that they can’t take time off to be with or help their family. Make a decision to put your family first before your work. It’s the most important life decision you will make as a leader.

In the late 1990s, I was working on a program for the government of Indonesia, traveling from San Diego to Jakarta on a regular basis. My job was to work with the government to help them finance a $20 million purchase of our radio equipment.

In 2000, my daughter, Jennifer, was graduating from high school. Our customer in Indonesia had requested that I travel to Indonesia in early June for some meetings regarding the program. I knew it would be a tight fit, but left on the trip two weeks before the graduation date. The meetings were going along well and then hit a snag due to some unscheduled conflicts with the customer. They asked me to extend my trip for a couple weeks to conclude our business.

If I did, I would miss Jennifer’s graduation. I decided to leave Jakarta the day before the graduation and then return to Jakarta the day after the graduation. I arrived home the night before graduation day, attended the graduation and reception afterward, and returned to Jakarta the next day.

It was a huge mistake on my part. I was not putting Jennifer first in my life; I was working her and the rest of our family into my business life. I missed the opportunity to live life to the fullest with my family during one of the most important times for my daughter. What I should have done was be home for the entire month of June to enjoy the whole experience with Jennifer and the family. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about this mistake and wished I could go back and undo it.

Today, I believe our day-to-day life is so integrated there is no more work-life balance, just life-work integration. Our lives have become so busy with all kinds of activities that the expectations of company leaders need to change in this area. We need to put our employees’ lives first and their work life second.

Okay, Art, how do you do that?” you ask.

I’ve already shared our company’s number one value. The last value we have is, “We don’t compromise our values.” We won’t put our employees in a position where they have to pick their work responsibilities over their family responsibilities. We don’t do it.

The best way for servant leaders to show how serious they are about this value is to live it themselves. If we don’t put our families first, we can’t expect others to. Our behavior is what takes this value off the wall and into practice in our organization.

I regret spending a large percentage of my work life putting my career above my family. I can never get that time back; I can only make sure it will not happen again. Don’t make the same mistake I made — put your personal life first, before your work life. Those who you love most and who love you the most will have a better life. You will, too.

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

10 Things You Didn’t Know about James Janis Berdigans
quantum computer
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Quantum Machines
Arkady Volozh
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Arkady Volozh
Yandex
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Yandex
Snowflake Stock
Is Snowflake Stock a Solid Long Term Investment?
grocery shopping with credit card
The 10 Best Credit Cards for Groceries in 2021
credit cards
The 10 Best First Credit Cards To Get in 2021
American Express
Ranking The 10 Best Amex Transfer Partners
lavender field
10 Lavender Farms You Need to Visit in the United States
Skiing
What Is the Epic Pass for Skiers and Is it Worth It?
tulip farm
10 Amazing Tulip Farms to Visit in the United States
Ruby Falls
10 Awesome Caves To Visit in Tennessee
2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness
A Closer Look at The 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness
A Closer Look at The 2022 Subaru WRX
Lincoln's New Sleek Concept Car
A Closer Look at Lincoln’s New Sleek Concept Car
"Arosa" - The Supercar of Hovercrafts
VonMercier Reveals “Arosa” – The Supercar of Hovercrafts
Speake-Marin Legerete
The 10 Best Speake-Marin Watches of All-Time
Sinn U1 DS Limited Edition
A Closer Look at the Sinn U1 DS Limited Edition
Casio Vintage X Pac-Man A100WEPC-1B
A Closer Look at the Casio Vintage X Pac-Man A100WEPC-1B
A Closer Look at the Bell & Ross Diver Blue
Brian Chesky
How Brian Chesky Achieved a Net Worth of $13.1 Billion
Bob Woodward
How Bob Woodward Achieved a Net Worth of $15 Million
Andrew Dice Clay
How Andrew Dice Clay Achieved a Net Worth of $10 Million
Ricky Martin
The 10 Richest People in Puerto Rico