In your career, balance is everything

Gillian Breckell
3 min readSep 11, 2022


It is easy to follow what we enjoy, to invest in what we know. The risk is that we develop an imbalance in our brand — which in leadership can hurt a number of your people.

Research has demonstrated that impactful leaders are those who can generate business results and outcomes, and at the same time ensure that they connect and invest in the people who work with them. Leadership — by definition — requires that there are people who choose to follow and throw their energy and intelligence into the direction set by the leader.

A leader too focused on results will lack the people skills to draw and retain good people. And a leader too focused on people will lack the ability to ensure that their people are positioned for success and are in an environment where they can build valuable experience. Both examples will fail to transition from leader to leadership.

Leaders must be able to balance results and people, and at the same time offer other opportunities to develop and maintain balance in other aspects of work and personal life.

Previously we have explored how important it is to develop career capital, and in that article raised the point that only developing competencies is not enough, we also need to build on our skills. This is another example of balance that is required in order to build a healthy career. Practice and theory, learning and doing, planning and executing — all of these are examples within our career where we can often find ourselves tipping out of balance. Often as we mature into a role we find ourselves falling into habits that are immediately rewarding, such as reacting on emails at the expense of time set aside to complete a learning course; or not taking time to reflect in preference for execution.

Or, as a leader, focusing on results at the detriment of people, or vice versa.

Keeping our balance can also be a difficult line to walk when we close our laptop and move into our personal spheres. In these post-COVID times, our home lives have played out in the background of Teams and Zoom calls to our colleagues, and we have carved out areas in our homes for work to be permanently placed. Although, for some this has led to an uncomfortable blurring of boundaries, for many it has allowed a direct comparison to occur between work and personal life that has challenged the status quo.

Without the distancing effect of commuting, we are now directly turning from our work to our home experiences. This shortened distance creates a direct comparison between the competing demands of work and home.

Most of all, this shortened distance opens up an opportunity for us to re-think our actions and activities in the different roles we play. It offers moments where we become acutely aware of our work stress and demands while we look at our children or partner who also needs us, and this comparison puts our choices uncomfortably side-by-side. Positively though, it encourages us discover the balance that is critical for each of us, and opens up conversations to discuss how we achieve that balance.

Remember, we started out by stating that it is easy to follow what we enjoy and to invest in what we know, and that we need to ensure that we are balancing out our brand. This balance is necessary for our colleagues and for our families, as allowing ourselves to focus in an imbalanced way can hurt a number of people

Life and leadership needs both results and relationships.