When I was growing up that meant playing outside all day while my “stay-at-home” mom kept an eye on me, my siblings, and the rest of the neighborhood kids as we played on our “Jungle Gym” in our backyard.
When my dad got home at 6:00, dinner would be mostly prepared except for what was to be cooked on the grill, and the evening would be spent as a family eating, playing “Ghost in the Graveyard,” and spending time with all the other moms, dads, and kids in the neighborhood who were all outside doing the very same thing.
Does this describe your life today? If so, count yourself exceptionally lucky as study after study shows that Americans today are experiencing work-family conflict rather than the work-life balance of my childhood memories.
The article, “The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict” states that, “Fully 90 percent of American mothers and 95 percent of American fathers report work-family conflict.”
We all know the causes but the above -referenced study does a nice job of laying some of them out…
- The American work model was created in the 60’s when the overwhelming majority of children lived with married parents, and their moms stayed at home
- Now the reality has flipped, with about as many children living in dual-income households as used to live with a stay-at-home mom
- Americans are working longer hours than ever before
- With the population ageing, more working Americans are taking care of their parents
- Additionally, thanks to the advancement of technology, some may perceive their workforce as “always available…”
- And the list goes on…
The reality is “traditional life” has changed for so many of us. Our current recession has added fuel to the fire by increasing job uncertainty, and some are taking on additional jobs to balance the risk.
Many of the CEOs I talk with are grappling with tremendous uncertainty when it comes to their employee healthcare benefits because of Obama Care, and entrepreneurs and small business owners are struggling to enjoy a little bit of summer as they make themselves available for every possible business opportunity that arises.
How do you lead in an era of work-family conflict? Will we forever more harken back to the “good ‘ol days” of work-life balance, or can we as leaders create a sea change that truly does empower and ignite “balance” in the lives of the American worker?
These are the questions we’ll tackle over the next few weeks at #LeadershipChat! Yes, my Co-Host Steve Woodruff (the “Connection Agent”) and I know we’re taking on quite a challenging topic…but if not at #LeadershipChat, then where?
-> This week we’ll take on the macro-issues: What can we do as leaders to influence these larger issues in America today?
->Next week we’ll move to the micro-level and ask what leaders can do for their employees to bring about true balance while also preserving the required focus on creation of profits that keep businesses growing, fueling our economy.
To get your brains warmed up, our friend and Work-Life Nation aficionado Judy Martin has written, “Leadership on the Edge of the Work-Life Balance Battle,” a stellar summary of the current state of the “Work-Life Balance Battle,” with links to excellent articles that will give you a broad perspective on the issues.
You might find the article on The New Male Mystique particularly interesting!
What are some leadership solutions you believe in to empower a move from work-family conflict to work-life balance?
Please share in the comments and join us tomorrow evening, August 2nd, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time for #LeadershipChat on Twitter!
Also – we’re going to try something new this week and “chat” on Google Plus at the same time we’re on Twitter!
At 8:00 pm ET, 8:15 pm ET, 8:30 pm ET and 8:45 pm ET both Steve Woodruff and I will ask the same question on Google Plus that we’ll be asking on Twitter. This way, if you have a Google Plus account, but not a Twitter account, you can still participate.
We look forward to a fantastic discussion on both Twitter and Google Plus!
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Photo is POV Summertime by Mateeee.