Many people think being on call 24/7 is par for the course for leaders. In their minds, when you accept a leadership role, that becomes your sole focus and dictates how you think and spend every minute of the day.
But great leaders aren’t wholly consumed by their roles. They adopt a healthy mindset that allows them to thrive as a leader and in other areas of their lives so they don’t get burnt out.
Lisa Osborne Ross is CEO of Edelman US. She has held leadership roles at organizations, including Ogilvy and the White House, and been involved in countless nationwide and community initiatives. But throughout her career, Lisa has always made it clear that although work is important to her, it’s not the most important thing. That honor goes to her family, her faith, and her voice in the community.
Maintaining a healthy mindset about leadership and boundaries allows Lisa to find balance and encourage her employees to do the same. She takes time off for her birthday, vacations, and when she’s sick and is completely unplugged. Lisa protects her well-being and invests in mental health benefits for her employees, which sets the example that they can set boundaries and not schedule their entire lives around work.
Not always being on call requires Lisa to distinguish between a crisis and a problem. Lisa says problems can wait, but crises must be dealt with immediately. And because she controls her time, she is the one who makes that decision.
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But even with a healthy mindset, all leaders face failure and bad days. Lisa has three remedies:
- When something fabulous happens, it’s never as good as it seems. And when something terrible happens, it’s never as bad as it seems. This lesson from President Obama showed Lisa and power of perspective.
- None of this is life and death. Keep the attitude that although the consequences may seem dire, your challenge or failure isn’t the most important thing in the world.
- Surround yourself with people who lift you, support you, and tell the truth. A strong support system stands by you and encourages you to keep pushing and be your best self.
Lisa has faced numerous challenges and trials, especially as a Black woman in a leadership role. Bad things happen—that’s the world. But Lisa reminds herself that it isn’t her world. Her world is her family, community, and the difference she is making. When she stays centered in that space, she is strong enough to get through any failure or challenge.
A healthy and balanced approach to leadership allows leaders not to be defined just by their titles but by their values, hobbies, and other activities. It also gives them perspective during challenging times. Lisa says her boundaries help her enjoy giving 200% and keep her in control of her time. That’s an example all leaders and employees can follow.
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