LCF Alumni Association Leadership Lunch Series Topic: “We Cannot Lead Others on Empty…We Must Learn How to Lead Full”, Attendee Feedback by, Timothy Fitzgerald

LCF Alumni Association Leadership Lunch Series Topic: “We Cannot Lead Others on Empty…We Must Learn How to Lead Full”, Attendee Feedback by, Timothy Fitzgerald

Burnout, what’s that?…  That’s what you’ll witness when you give a rebellious teenager a sports car, right?

All jokes aside, if you’re a leader in the community then chances are either you or someone you know has visibly experienced burnout, tiredness, or work exhaustion in some form.  You can even put on a metaphorical mask, drink more coffee, fake a smile, and hide it.  All the while serving your business with the best of you but giving those close to you what’s left of you.

The LCF Leadership Lunch Series invited Bill Vecchio, Jr., a GiANT Worldwide Leadership Coach to speak in March on a topic titled “We Cannot Lead Others on Empty…We Must Learn How to Lead Full”.

Hearing about how Bill honors his family priorities and balances his contributions as a local real estate professional and pastor, drove me to think differently.  To consider the consequences of asking myself and being obsessed with these questions: how can I do more, do better, and do things faster to get results.  A more resourceful mindset shift would ask, what can I learn, and how can I grow to get these results I’m looking for and be fulfilled at the same time.  I’d recommend looking Bill up for more of his ideas if you missed his speech.  He touched on many tools leaders can use to self-assess and make a positive change.

One lesson he spoke about hit me hard that I needed to share.  It was Bill’s coming home from work decompression story, that I’ll summarize here.  Let’s say you’re on your way home taking a work phone call, and then maybe during the call, it gets heated, and a lot needs to be unpacked from the call, but you just pulled up in your driveway.  You’re a skilled, working professional so your mind is already connecting the dots and you’re looking for to-dos from that call.  Your kids are in a playful mood or your significant other is expecting you, and they want a hug asap.  What are you going to do?  How quickly do you have to put on your mask or fake a smile?  Good luck to you if you’re going in with visible frustration, irritation, or lack of attentiveness.  Thankfully, our fears don’t need to become reality if there’s something to learn here.

Going in with the mask is like forcing a gear shift from work mode to family mode, but you didn’t press the clutch.  For those that don’t drive a stick, the gears will grind if we don’t take the moment to press the clutch, and then shift.  Avoid that disconnect at home.  Take a moment to shift.  Bill suggested locating a waypoint maybe 5-10 minutes in duration from on the way home; that when you pass, you know it’s time to shift gears.  Shut work down.  Allowing time to process our thoughts and emotions.  Time to recenter ourselves so we can connect with others.  I’ve found this waypoint logic to be helpful for work-life balance and for being totally present during those hugs.  Here’s a few other reminders from Bill:

Know yourself to lead yourself.  The word integrity comes to my mind.  If we keep wearing a mask, we lose the connection to who we are.  We lose the strength we need to lead that comes from our integrity.  It’s not a good idea to grind our own gears.

Downshift to recharge.  From task mode to connect mode.  When we’ve been locked in the office all day pushing papers or stuck in meetings, any opportunity to shift towards investing in others is an opportunity recharge.  This connecting and investing in others fulfills a leader.

Slow down.  Give ourselves permission to rest.  Make it an intentional rest as opposed to a comfortable escape.  Put down the mindless activities and allow yourself to be present.

I am truly grateful for LCF and Bill Vecchio, Jr. for presenting useful tools and reminders so I can keep growing and contributing to our community.  Leadership is not only about influencing change with others, but it’s also about taking our own advice. How present and available do we want to be at work, in our community, and at home with our family?  Do you want to show up and as Bill says, be “willing to do whatever it takes to be a leader worth following?”