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    Leading by example

    editor     |      March 27, 2008

    By Kerry Fallon Horgan

    Better work/life balance needs to start at the top.

    When I asked John McFarlane, then CEO of ANZ Bank, whether to create an enabling environment that supports work/life balance it is necessary for an organisational leader to model this balance, his response was illuminating.

    "Get a full life and then have success at work!"

    One of his key strategies being to follow a personal mission statement. This statement sets out the roles and pursuits on which he focuses all of his attention, avoiding "with good grace activities that are inconsistent, however appealing". He also takes very practical steps to ensure his time is managed well such as only having meetings in the mornings and if people are "high maintenance" he sends them away.

    To create sustainable flexible workplaces managers must lead by example. Unfortunately all too often what we find in our organisations are "mega-managers". They are the people, who because of the long hours spent at work, have highly developed roles as managers at the expense of other life roles. When these "mega-managers" return home late at night, usually tired and stressed, the only role accessible to them is that of manager. And no partner, child or friend wants to be managed!