Leaders are always in the hot seat. Whether you are an owner, manager, politician, or executive director, you owe it to your team and your community to be a solid and consistent leader. But continually being in the spotlight can be exhausting.

I was an elected official for four years and I was always wearing that hat, even in the grocery store. I once heard a BC Premier say that when he needs a day off he can’t go jogging: too many people want to stop take a selfie with him.

As leaders, how do we rest? Here are a few ideas:

1. Don’t wear your leadership hat all the time.

If you’re the boss, chances are you love being in charge. This love of being the leader serves you well in your work life; however it might be hard to let go of the need to lead and control once you’re done with work for the day. Do your best to take off this hat whenever you can. If you’re a parent, try a collaborative approach with parenting, so that you lead equally with your partner, and involve your kids in decision-making whenever possible. If you are continually trying to lead in your non-work life, not only does this exhaust you, it can also negatively affect your relationships.

2. Allow your colleagues to help you bear the weight of decision-making.

Remember that being a leader does not mean maintaining control of all decisions at all times. Utilize the decision-making styles of collaboration, consultation, and delegation more often than you use the authoritarian style. This will lift some of the burden of leadership off your shoulders and distribute it more evenly in your organization, which not only means less stress for you, it means greater ownership and satisfaction for your team members.

3. Commit to practicing excellent stress management.

It can’t be said enough how important it is to tend to the basics of a healthy lifestyle: eat healthy unprocessed foods, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly. Take time out during every work day for 5-10 minutes of mindfulness meditation. Instead of saving up all those vacation days for three weeks on the beach once a year, try taking several mini-retreats, such as 4-day weekends, throughout the year. This will go a long way towards reducing stress and burnout.

4. Make sure you have trusted team members who’ve “got your back” when the going gets really tough.

Trusted colleagues are worth their weight in gold. As leaders, even though we work hard to keep things going smoothly with our teams, things happen. Team members who support you as a leader will be there for you when you ask for a little extra help or support. If you don’t have anyone on your team who you feel you can trust to protect and help you, it is time to examine your leadership and management styles, and how you choose your team members.

5. Cherish the other hats you wear just as much as your leadership hat.

Remember to hold your other life roles in equal standing with your work and leadership role. Are you a parent? Make sure you are devoting plenty of time and energy to your family. Cherish your kids and spouse and the limited time you have with them. Are you an artist at heart but not at work? Take time every week to create something. Do you find energy and renewal spending time with friends and neighbours? Be sure to nurture your friendships by giving and receiving support for each other and just having fun together.

If you find you are really struggling with your leadership and work role taking over your life more than you would like, see my blog post on Discipline. And, give me a call on 250-855-8074 or send me an email. I’d be happy to support you in finding a better balance in your life.