This past summer our family went deep sea fishing off the coast of Florida. Along with the others on our boat, we had a fantastic, relaxing, fun and exhilarating time. Plus, we caught hundreds of fish that day. We joked around, had fun and were focused on the job at hand: fishing.
(Picture: Kevin and daughter Katie after a day of deep sea fishing off the coast of Destin, Florida.)
I love to have fun. But I also love to work. My life goal has been to have fun while I work. My goal is to live one life no matter where I am.
Who are you when you go to work? Are you the same person your spouse married? Are you that same thoughtful, caring parent your children see most every day? Are you the one who takes your family on fun vacations and relaxes and has a good time? I think the world would be a better place if we lived one life and remained that one person family members love at home.
My hope is that I will be the same guy at work, home, church, fishing or wherever I go.
In our society, however, there seems to be pressure to morph into Type A, no nonsense business freaks at 8:00 am each workday. We are not supposed to care how the work gets done as long as it gets done. Would you want your spouse to work for you? Would you want your son or daughter to work for you? Better yet, would you want one of your dearly loved family members to work for the worst leader in your company?
If your answer was no to any of these questions, you need to make some changes.
First, everyone deserves respect. We need to make sure we treat all people, whether employees or family members, with respect and dignity 24 hours/day.
Second, we need to lead one, consistent life, whether we are at work or at home. The struggle between work and life happens when we see the two competing for each other. Leaders who demand employees choose work over family will eventually lose. They may win the short-term battle for the employee’s time but will ultimately lose the talent war and the employee may lose their family.
Third, accept who you are. The pressure to morph into something you are not from 8 to 5 is more than anyone can bear over the long run. If the office does not like who you are, find another company, career, workplace, or start your own company. Be yourself and live one life.
Fourth, live your values. Some people are comfortable when the lines are blurred between right and wrong; when values can be stretched to match the situation. That is an uncomfortable zone for me. I suspect it is an uncomfortable zone for you as well. Fuzzy values and inconsistent living is no man’s land. If you won’t put up with fuzzy values at home, do not allow it at work either. Live one life.
Fifth, listen to that voice inside your head. I believe there is such a thing as right and wrong. There is a small little voice inside my head that tells me when something doesn’t feel right. No, I’m not crazy or hearing voices or taking some new medication.
How does this topic relate to Great Workplaces or company culture? Employees are looking for authenticity. Leaders who are authentic live the same life at work and at home. They do not put on one face for the office and another face for home. They have found the freedom of being one person.
Be yourself and your work environment will have a greater chance to succeed. Be that leader who loves his/her family at night and weekends. But don’t lock that person up when you go to work. People at work are looking for compassion too. To win over the head, hands and hearts of your employees you need to be yourself – live one life.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.