Leadership is about more than your title, your salary and all the little perks that come along with the role. Along with all your other responsibilities, when you’re a leader you have to be dedicated to achieving peak performance.
The primary role of leadership
You also must be capable of inspiring the same dedication and determination in others so they are motivated to work towards a common goal and strive for excellence. This is not an easy feat for anyone. It can be especially difficult for professional women since they are often also the primary caregiver in their families.
The Challenge of peak performance for many professional women
According to statistics reported by Carers Australia, over two-thirds of all caregivers are women, and 96% of caregivers provide support for members of their families. Nearly 60% of carers also actively participate in the workforce.
While the data clearly shows that more women than ever before are trying to “have it all,” many of these same women often feel exhausted, as well as guilty. They struggle to balance the time that they spend on fulfilling the demands of their work and their personal lives.
Others report that they feel tempted, and sometimes even pushed by the expectations of our society, to pass up opportunities in their career so they have more time for their families.
These internal doubts and conflicts can make it especially challenging for women in leadership to be able to increase their personal performance, and the peak performance of those they lead.
Can female leaders really have it all?
Some women have found the conflict between their careers and families so great that they wonder if it is possible to have it all.
I believe that working women can have a career and excel in leadership roles while taking care of their families. The key is understanding that one persons definition of ‘having it all’ might be different from one person to the next. What does ‘having it all’ mean to you? And do you NEED to have it all, all at one time?
Does this mean that women should turn down leadership opportunities, and pass up chances to take on more responsibility and advance their careers?
I don’t believe so. If women want to lead while feeling less guilty about the time they spend away from their families, there are steps to take to define and build the life that they want to lead.
Personalise your all by defining what having it all means to you
Most of us have heard the phrase, “having it all,” many times, but it’s still hard to define just what “having it all” means. What does having it all look like, and, how does anyone know if they’ve achieved it?
If you want to be able to build the life that you want, and maintain peak performance in your organisation while caring for your family, you must first define what “all” means to you.
- What are the things about spending time with your family that have meaning for you?
- What are the things on which you will not compromise?
- What does success in your work mean to you?
- What types of resources and support will you need from others to help you achieve the life that you want?
Defining your all means that you personally decide what is and is not important to you, and then you figure out what steps you need to take to get it.
Flexible scheduling is making it easier for women in leadership roles to create and live the lives that they want.
More companies are beginning to offer flexible schedules, and are taking advantage of mobile platforms and other technologies to make it possible to work from nearly any location. Professional women wanting to have it all must increase their flexibility as well.
There will be times that you will need to be just as flexible as your organisation is with your schedule and your personal time if you want to be able to take advantage of opportunities to grow.
In order to achieve your personal all, you will need to learn how to work the hours that work for you. Rather than seeking ways to evenly divide your time between home and office, increasing your flexibility means blending together your commitments to both your work and family.
While it’s possible to have your own personal all, it’s not possible to “do” it all, all on your own. You are neither a robot or superhuman. If you want to be able to have it all, make the effort to build your relationships. Create your own personal tribe of supporters, both at home and at work, that can help you maintain your peak performance.
Support comes in many forms, and can be wide ranging. Support can be anything from a co-worker that brings you their best ideas for improving efficiency, to a neighbour that picks up your kids from school or hiring someone to help you clean the house. When you recruit a tribe of supporters it’s easier for you to achieve your goals because together, each of you helps the other in their quest to learn and accomplish more.
One way to improve peak performance and have a career while having a family that is often overlooked is performance coaching. By enlisting the help of a female leadership coach and mentor, professional women gain additional insight into the areas that they need to focus on to improve their performance while receiving expert advice on how to balance the demands placed on them by their families. A leadership coach is an indispensable ally that can help women achieve their career and life goals more easily.
Whether you need some guidance in clarifying your career goals, or just need some extra help defining what steps you need to take to “have it all,” why not consider joining the Athena Coaching online coaching program to Set Yourself up for Success and gain clarity of what having it all is for you? Jumpstart your leadership career and get the help that you need to design and create the life that you want!