Leading with Family

This week’s post was written by Doug Post.
No core value has generated more discussion and a wider range of opinions at Interstates than family. So let’s start by aligning around Interstates’ definition:
“Family focuses on building a strong sense of community at work and at home. At work, our team is a family – we learn and grow together, building strong relationships and a support network with each other. At home, we encourage our employees to keep their families a priority – making time for them and strengthening these relationships.”
When we recently surveyed a number of our employees on their definition of work familyand nuclear family, it was striking to see the frequency of common terms showing up in both definitions. Terms like care, support, openness, trust, and respect for each other.
As servant leaders we are responsible to provide opportunities for our people. This includes building and maintaining a culture where we can thrive at work and thrive at home. A culture where work-life balance is a priority and where the family definitions just shared are held dear.
To lead with family, we need to forgo some of the rigid rules and structure of a typical work week. It is important to recognize traditional work-life balance assumptions do not apply to all. For example, to our traveling employees and to today’s typical millennial (if there is such a person). So let’s actively lead by asking ourselves questions like the following:
·        Jennie just committed to a personally demanding client requirement, how can I take something off of her plate?
·        Since I ask Bill to travel regularly, how do I ensure he has plenty of family time/personal flexibility when he’s not travelling?
·        Am I leading assertively when I notice our family core value is not being lived out at work?
·        Am I helping others focus and say no in effective, productive ways?
·        Does my team embrace differing views on work-life balance?
·        Do my employees know their family time is a priority for me? Are they willing to share work-life balance concerns with me?
What other family related questions would you add to the list above?  
With differing business units, field and office employees, personal schedules and varied viewpoints, this isn’t a cut and dried topic.  And work-life balance is not easy.  It isn’t self-correcting.  You need to be aware of your imbalances and monitor to ensure you are keeping your work-life balanced in your own life and help ensure that for your team as well. 
Additionally, healthy home-lives support a healthy employee at work. Strained relationships distract and cause one to lose focus. I encourage you to nurture relationships both at home and work. Building relationships provides a good support network for the challenges as well as the celebrations and trials of life. Are you leading with the family core value in mind?
Keep leading the Interstates way!


Doug Post


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