We all play a range of roles. You may be a project manager, volunteer, boss, friend, CEO, and the list goes on and on. Not only do you fill many roles, but there’s an excellent chance that you feel like some of your roles compete against one another. As a result, you are pulled from role to role, frustrated that you aren’t doing any of them well, and fraught with guilt that you are disappointing people (including yourself) in the process.
You might think that being a good parent requires you to pull back on your volunteer work, as the time you spend at evening community meetings causes you to miss your kids’ bedtime.
What if you rethink the dynamic?
Perhaps you can do volunteer work in the community with your children (e.g., handing out water at a road race or cleaning up the park), and both make a contribution to your community and spend quality time with your kids.
What if you are a dog owner and a project manager?
You want to drop everything and take your dog for a walk in the middle of the day, but you have team meetings to attend and work to complete. Perhaps throughout the COVID pandemic, you start to bring your dog to your Zoom meetings. Suddenly, you find a new way to connect with team members by sharing your dog and simultaneously getting the chance to show your pet some affection.
These might be oversimplified examples, but I think you get the point. What if you choose to change the traditional dynamic? What if you can find a way to be great at two seemingly opposed roles?
Making this happen starts with understanding your purpose, values, and vision. When you’re clear on your purpose as an individual, a leader, or an organization, understand your values and the behaviors driven by those values, and envision where you are looking to go, you have a firm foundation from which to align your roles. You see, life isn’t a zero-sum game where you have to give up something to get something. Moreover, the roles you fulfill in your life are not a zero-sum game either.
If we’ve learned nothing else over the last year, we’ve seen the value of more effectively integrating aspects of our lives. Yes, it can be challenging. However, when done well, you’ll reap benefits across all of your roles.
In a recent Leadership Lab podcast episode, I interview Ashley Grice. Ashley is the CEO of BCG Brighthouse. She and her colleagues are experts in helping organizations draw on the power of purpose. I found the conversation fascinating and hope that you do too. Of particular relevance to the idea of the roles we play in life, Ashley and I explore how she’s a better leader because she’s a parent and a better parent because of her work role.
Why? She has aligned these two roles with who she is and where she is going.
We’ve created tool and video to help you to not only deconflict some of your roles but to align and maximize them. I encourage you to watch the video, print out the tool, and put it to work in your life.
Make it a great day!
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a sought after writer, speaker, and global leadership consultant. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.