20 Traits of Balanced Leadership

Businessman drawing a financial graph (histogram)

Great leaders constantly strive to strike a balance between work and the other realms of their lives.

Great leaders share a passion: They want to make a difference in the world.

These two things go hand in hand. The most successful leaders are the ones who work the hardest at balancing all aspects of their lives. And when they do, they find that they really do make a difference.

With that in mind, I offer ideas on how you can boost your ability to balance your life. Begin with my 20-point mental checklist on what makes a balanced leader. What Do I Mean By Balanced Leadership?

Here are 20 principles that I think define a balanced leader:

  1. You balance your needs with those of others in your organization.
  2. You balance your needs with those of others in your family.
  3. You balance the demands on your energy.
  4. You balance the demands on your time.
  5. You adhere to your values, while others are encouraging you to bend the rules.
  6. You keep an optimistic outlook, while remaining realistic.
  7. You cultivate consistency, while adapting to change.
  8. You practice self-reflection as you cope with the demands of others.
  9. You maintain your emotional equanimity, while those around you are losing theirs.
  10. You recognize and manage your blind spots.
  11. You leverage your strengths, while managing your weaknesses.
  12. You try to see yourself as others see you.
  13. You alternate periods of hard work with periods of sustained rest.
  14. You play as hard as you work.
  15. You take chances and make mistakes.
  16. You acknowledge your mistakes.
  17. You learn from your mistakes.
  18. You maintain a good sense of humor.
  19. You cultivate friends and relatives to keep you on the right path.
  20. You never do any of this alone.

In unbalanced times, it’s more important than ever to practice these principles. The mark of a good leader is the ability to lead in all kinds of circumstances. In the toughest of times, leaders need to stand on a rock-solid set of core values.

Remember—life almost always is unbalanced, out of kilter, listing or leaning in one direction or another. No matter what, you’ll need the skills and strength to help you steady the ship.