Is Leadership Failing to Deliver a Positive Work-Life Balance?

Is Leadership Failing to Deliver a Positive Work-Life Balance?

Working from home doesn’t automatically mean people are enjoying a better work-life balance. In fact, the combination of no commuting and a lack of a nine to five routine, means there is no set beginning or end to the working day.

This was revealed by the BBC recently, which reported on an internal survey of first-year bankers at Goldman Sachs. It showed their working week averaged 95 hours, and they slept only five hours a night. Not surprisingly, their personal relationships and physical and mental health suffered as a result.

Undoubtedly, these disturbing findings chime with business leaders who have been battling throughout the Covid-19 crisis to keep their companies trading.

“In recent years mental health has moved to the top of the leadership agenda for companies across the globe, but wellbeing policies do not always apply to the boardroom,” says Ameena Ahmed, Director at Direct Path Consulting,

“The perception is that sharing experiences of mental health is for employees, not for business leaders”

Ameena Ahmed, Director at Direct Path Consulting

There are exceptions: outgoing Lloyds Banking Group chief executive officer António Horta-Osório won praise when he championed mental health issues following a two-month break in 2011 for stress-induced insomnia and exhaustion.

“Every business owner needs to ask themselves this question: is my career providing me with my dream lifestyle?”

The Effects on Decision-Making

“Whether stress originates externally or internally, it can lead to negative thinking and poor decision-making,” explains Amena.

“In short, it’s bad for leadership. When you’re calm and clear, you set a productive tone. One effective way to get into a more relaxed and positive headspace is to shift your focus from the problem to the solution.”

Try asking yourself a series of questions that can move you from lower-level thinking and circular logic to a more elevated, productive mindset:

  • Am I reacting in a negative manner on purpose?
  • Is this way of responding helping me create the life/results I want?
  • Is this the way I want to be defined?
  • Would I teach or recommend this way of reacting to my children?

Dr Bill Crawford, psychologist, organisational consultant and 2019 Vistage Speaker of the Year, says: “These questions help push the lower brain’s thoughts aside and spark the top of the mind to provide clarity. Most CEOs realise that the answer to each is an emphatic no. They then create the space to switch gears to a more productive, constructive mindset.”

Sharing Experiences

“We have all heard of the phrase ‘it’s lonely at the top’, but it’s true as many executives have no-one to share their feelings with,” adds Ameena.

“Within the confines of a confidential peer advisory group, executives can let their guard down, putting any issues on the table for their peers to tackle”

Ameena Ahmed, Director at Direct Path Consulting

“No topic is off-limits,” Ameena continues. “If you are willing to talk candidly about the decisions you face, fellow members will rally around you and bring to bear every resource to help you grow as a leader and improve your business.”

Peer-to-peer learning is a cornerstone of leadership development, where participants gain access to new perspectives to expand their view. Recharge your thinking, learn from fellow CEOs and receive confidential advice to create opportunities and improve results.

Want to Know More?

Direct Path bring together high-integrity CEOs, executives and business owners into private advisory groups. Each group is purpose-built to help members help each other improve the performance and outcomes of their businesses. It’s where leaders get the perspective, clarity and support to make the decisions that will make a difference.

To find out more, call Ameena on 07896 467 856 or visit

Barry Hunt is an award-winning journalist and editor with more than 25 years' experience in the media and PR industry.