WORK-LIFE BLOOM 🌸

October 2023

WORK-LIFE BLOOM 🌸

Releasing in October 2023, a new book from award-winning author Dan Pontefract.


 

A few words from Dan:

After years of thinking, interviews, and research, I’ve got to get something off my chest.

“There is no such thing as work-life balance.”

 

It is a term that you need to renounce, if not repudiate, from your leadership lexicon forthwith. It makes about as much sense as continuing to say “lowest on the totem pole.”

The term is distressingly inadequate, yet, too many leaders abuse it. They continue to apply work-life balance as a prosthesis for a team member’s happiness. It is not nearly enough to be balanced between work and life. The workplace burnout irony is a clue. Even the World Health Organization officially classified burnout as a syndrome related to “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

Like with work-life balance, there is a phrase freely used by many leaders that also requires examination:

“We want you to bring your best self to work.”

 

Sometimes leaders refer to it as “whole selves” or “authentic selves” instead of best self. The problem?

First off, the phrase is a catchphrase gone sideways. It’s bad HR-speak, as useful as “quiet quitting,” “great resignation,” “ghost jobs,” and “productivity paranoia.” We already have enough buzzword bingo phrases to last a lifetime. Bringing our best selves or authentic selves to work—much like work-life balance—cannot be the goal.

By choice or out of necessity, the manner in which many workers make a living is undergoing a fundamental change. And to make a living is to accept that there is a congenital bond between work and life, between what we do and our definition of self.

Here’s what I have learned.

Every team member needs to become a work-life gardener, tending to their own garden box. (It’s a metaphor!)

But, as a leader of those team members, you have a critically important part to play. You possess tools in your garden shed that can help your team members succeed.

Subsequently, you must consider how work and life fit in with one another and how they become aligned. We bring our work to life every day. And our life gets entangled in our work equally so. There is no way around it in a post-pandemic era.

Work is incorporated with life, not balanced.

Team members don’t need to bring their best selves to work.

They simply require support to be their best. However, as their leader, you still need to know what garden tools to use, when, and why.

Numerous elements influence everyone’s life and work. Through primary and secondary research, interviews, and analysis, I have identified six key work factors as well as six life factors that allow team members to be their best. Dependent on how well the work and life factors are viewed or deployed, team members will adopt one of four personas. These personas change over time as well. After all, there are four seasons to every year.

All of my findings will be, ahem, unearthed in my fifth book, to be published in October 2023.

If we are to consign the terms work-life balance and best self to the compost—demolishing them with a gigantic spade—while pioneering a new bond between work and life, we need to introduce a new adage that does some justice. It is time to appeal for a new, if not more benevolent work-life philosophy.

May I take this opportunity to introduce you warmly and formally to a better word?

Bloom. 🌸

No, not the algae type. Don’t be cheeky.

Bloom: the state of high development or achievement. That, bloom! 🌸

See you in 2023.

Cheers,

dp

xxx

 

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