• Scott Behson

Reader Feedback: A Top Executive Who Promotes Work-Life Balance

A Harvard Business Review blog reader’s comment demonstrates that many senior managers are supportive of work-life balance.

I expected less enlightened management philosophies from some of my readers. I was happy to be wrong! photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc


When I think of the older readers of the Harvard Business Review, I imagine super-smart, tough, hard-working types with old-school management philosophies. So, when I wrote my latest article for the HBR blog, entitled “How to Be a Family-Friendly Boss” I was prepared for a backlash to my “progressive” thinking about management and work-family balance.

The backlash never came.


In fact, the most supportive comments seemed to come from the more seasoned readers. This gives me a lot of hope for progress on work-family balance. If even many from earlier generations are supportive, perhaps change can come quickly.

Anyway, here’s the comment from “OldGuy” (yes, that was his username) that really gives me hope!

As the C-level executive of my group, I have always pushed the idea of a work/life blend rather than balance. In the technology field in which we work, there is always the potential for interruptions outside of the normal working hours from our jobs just as the company should recognize there are interruptions during the work day from our life. From sick children, aging parents and school events to server crashes and buggy software releases – we find that trying to balance out a 1-for-1 schedule takes more effort than the benefit it provides, so we look to make it a blend of both. Yes, there are times when work demands much more time than is scheduled just as family life cannot happen only on weekends or outside of 8:00 to 5:00 on weekdays. Managing by deliverables, frequent performance discussions and the expectation that people want to do good work has helped us retain and attract exceptional people. And Scott is correct; it became much more believeable to the staff when the management team showed we lived the same way and spent the time we needed to focus on our families without our work suffering. We have a saying here in our office: It is easier to get a new job than it is a new family. Decide which is more important to you.

Sounds like a great boss, and a positive workplace that promotes high performance while valuing the employee as a whole person. Thank you “OldGuy” for giving this “middle-aged guy” hope and inspiration.

What do you think of “OldGuy’s” comment? Any “good boss” experiences to share? Let’s discuss in the comments section.

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© 2020 by Scott Behson

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