Who's To Blame for Work-Life Imbalance?

August 30, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - According to Development Dimensions International's (DDI's) Leadership Forecast 2005-2006 Best Practices for Tomorrow's Global Leaders, personal ambition, and not the boss or company demands, is the reason company leaders suffer from a work-life imbalance.

The global survey of over 4,500 supervisors, managers, and other leaders found that 60% of those who already have a poor work-life balance are willing to sacrifice even more personal time for a faster climb up the corporate ladder, says a DDI news release. The survey showed that almost a third of leaders say they have a poor work-life balance, and also notes that only 25% of organizations actively promote work-life balance.

Though leaders feel pressure, almost 50% reported feeling too much is expected of them, they take on more responsibility due to their own desire for growth, development, and rewards. “Leadership has become a real ‘love it or leave it proposition’; and you have to work hard to stay in the game,” said Rich Wellins, senior vice president at DDI, in the news release.

Further proof of that is found in DDI’s separate poll of 1,169 US workers concerning their Labor Day plans. According to the news release, 80% of those who plan to work on the holiday say they do not feel pressure to do so. Forty two percent of those polled say they will take time away from family and friends on Labor Day for work related activities such as checking e-mail and voicemail (28%), catching up on reading (14%), or traveling to the office (17%).

DDI points out in the news release that, though companies benefit in the short term from getting more out of ambitious leaders, better work-life balance would result in a reduction in turnover of almost 2%. “The boss may not be the problem, but they need to be part of the solution with proactive measures to prevent leadership burnout and by sending the message that leaders are valued and providing them with the opportunity to grow and succeed, without having to give up their personal lives,” Wellins said.

Development Dimensions International is a global human resource consulting firm specializing in leadership and selection. Its Web page is www.ddiworld.com .