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The boss sets the tone, right?

Workaholic boss

Last night, I was at the law firm of Foley & Lardner chatting with some of the lawyers when the conversation turned to a discussion of paternity leave. I was told that one of the high ranking partners at the firm recently had taken three months paid paternity leave to bond with his newborn, his third child.

I learned that some firm members thought it was ridiculous. Others saw it as a signal that work life issues are important to him and felt like he set a great example for his team. 

Now, let's look at it from another perspective. Let's say you have a boss who has kids that are now adults and the guy doesn't really like to spend time with his wife so he spends a lot of time at the office. His eternal presence in he office most likely is going to pressure others to follow suit. Are people going to scramble to work for this guy?

The point I'm trying to make is that in almost every workplace, your direct boss is key to your work life balance. Your boss and his or her actions and attitude on balance can affect your happiness -- for better or worse.

While I was at  Foley & Lardner last night, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion on work life topics. There were so many interesting points made including the one above.

Leadership Coach Margarita Plasencia also brought up an interesting point. She believes there are times in your life when you don't care about work life balance, stages in life when you're in the flow at work and you want to be there 24/7. She thinks that's okay.

I'm not sure I agree with her. I think that working 24/7 leads to burnout and it makes those people working for you and with you feel like it's expected of them.

Readers, what are your thoughts on this...do you think a boss who is personally focused on work 24/7 can still create a work environment that encourages his staff to have fulfilling outside lives? Would you reconsider taking a job if you found out your future boss had a lousy personal life?

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