Beyond Work: Be a Better Leader Have a Richer Life

Ready to take your leadership skills to the next level? With our guide, you can discover how to enhance your leadership skills and create a more fulfilling life outside of work. Get ready to be a better leader have a richer life.

One of the reasons I would never run for office is because I would likely never know when to stop. I mean, if you are the president, you have no days off, no vacation time. As long as you are breathing, you are working. So how do they manage? If they still have families, they may have stopped juggling work and personal life. Maybe they took a page out of ‘Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life’ by Stewart D. Friedman. Possibly, they found a way to enhance their personal lives while being good leaders. 

But even if they didn’t, you can. The concept of ‘total leadership’ is one that every man looking to be a great leader should embrace. Why? It focuses on what and who matters to you the most as you focus on work, family, self, and community. 

By recognizing their connection, you can do things that go hand in hand with your personal goals and values. The result? You will be a more effective leader. And even better, you will have a richer life. 

But what exactly do you do to be a better leader while leading a fulfilling life? Friedman’s book offers a comprehensive look at this concept. This article, on the other hand, is ideal for those who want practical strategies that can help them achieve better leadership without sacrificing quality of life. 

So keep reading as I explore where leadership and life meet, plus how you can have the best of both worlds. 

Understanding Total Leadership: The Four-Way View

‘Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life’ categorizes life into four domains or circles: work, home, community, and self.

The goal is to create value for these different parts. How? By making smart choices about how you use your time and attention. And in a way that does not necessarily require a trade-off. Here is an explanation of these four domains:


It involves every aspect of your professional life, including your work responsibilities, career, and even how you interact with fellow employees. On a deeper level, it includes job satisfaction and, of course, work-life balance. 


Home is your personal life after work. It revolves around relationships, household responsibilities, and personal interests. Therefore, this domain heavily focuses on the emotional connections you make and the physical environment of your home. 


Community is about how and when you interact with people outside your work or life environment. This includes volunteer work, civic engagement, social activities, and making a positive impact on society. 


Finally, self is focused on your values, beliefs, and well-being. Overall, it involves activities you do in relation to self-care, personal development, and maintaining health (physical and mental). There is a need to practice things like self-reflection, mindfulness, and goal setting.

Why is it Important?

Recognizing the interconnectedness of the four domains of life—work, home, community, and self—is crucial to being a better leader and having a richer life. Consider the following:

Balance and Harmony

As a leader, you probably want a balanced life more than anything. Recognizing that these aspects are connected rather than separated can help you strive for balance. This way, your work or life does not dominate.

Goal Alignment

Realizing that the circles are interconnected can help you align goals and values across the different areas. This will give you a greater sense of purpose and motivation to work in that direction.

Better Relationships

Appreciating the interconnection of the four domains can improve your relationships with others. You will value each circle as it deserves. With your newfound appreciation, you will be motivated to improve relationships in all aspects. 

Being Real, Whole, Innovative and Purposeful

Being real is all about being authentic and expressing yourself genuinely. You need to be honest, transparent, and sincere in interactions with others. When you are authentic in your leadership, you are not afraid of admitting to mistakes or showing vulnerability. It is because you understand that being honest gives trust and credibility.

Making decisions or practicing activities based on authenticity is important for building trust and creating meaningful relationships. In addition, authentic leaders create an atmosphere where those working under them feel safe to be themselves. Thus, the team has more transparency and a willingness to be loyal and collaborate. 

Beyond work, you will develop more meaningful relationships. Being transparent will encourage others to be transparent, resulting in deeper and ‘real’ connections. The people around you will feel safe and trusting, and they will get to see the real you. 

The result is often a well-balanced team or relationship honest about shortcomings or struggles. Leaders can find ways to genuinely help their team members or counterparts because they have presented themselves as ‘human’ and approachable. 

How to Be Real

  • Self-reflect. Always take the time to reflect on your values, motivations, and beliefs. This practice helps you determine which areas of your life require more authenticity. You can better align your actions with your actual actions. Continuous self-reflection is one of the best practices for leaders because it helps you understand yourself as you change and develop. So, as your values grow, so do your actions and intentions. It ensures you are always the real you at any given time. 
  • Be self-aware. Self-awareness is a key quality of leadership. It provides a deep understanding of yourself, allowing you to make sound decisions. And, it can help you build relationships with people since you understand yourself well. Pay attention to your thoughts and behaviors in different situations, especially when experiencing negative emotions. Be honest about your weaknesses, strengths, and areas for growth. 
  • Focus on genuine connections. To be a better leader have a richer life, you must focus on genuine connections. You can do this by being open and honest in your communication with others. Whether it is a team member or a friend, you need to be ready to share your thoughts and feelings authentically. In addition, encourage others to do the same. 
  • Embrace vulnerability. Finally, being the real you requires embracing vulnerability. Many leaders fear showing vulnerability or admitting to mistakes because it will make them look weak. But authenticity can win you more genuine connections, understanding, and connections with the people around you. Even when uncomfortable, authenticity demands showing everything, even the bad. So don’t be afraid of it. 

Being Whole: Leveraging All Aspects of Life

Being whole is all about recognizing all the aspects of yourself. It means looking beyond your physical and into your spiritual and mental self. The goal is to attain balance, well-being, and holistic growth. Some people turn to religion; others turn to community service.

Some donate while others meditate. It is about being in touch and nurturing the person you are beyond your job and relationships.

Aligning your actions with the value of being whole is vital for leaders in maintaining well-being and fulfillment. One of the things that people struggle with in jobs is finding fulfillment.

Money is good, but sometimes, it does not provide the fulfillment that gets you up in the morning on a bad day. This is why I come across stories of people quitting well-paying jobs to sell ice cream or work in waste management. It’s all about fulfillment.

How to Be Whole

  • Prioritize your self-care. It is easy for your duties as a leader to overshadow your life. You should care for your physical and mental health for wellness. In addition, your emotional health matters a lot. Exercise, meditate, be mindful, and find ways to nourish your soul. 
  • Invest in personal growth. Growth is a vital part of being whole. It is easy to remain stagnant when things are working as they should. However, working on growth means adapting and improving as things change because things will always change. So, look for opportunities to learn and develop aspects of your professional and personal life. For example, you could take an online course for a skill, explore a new hobby, or pursue an interest. 
  • Set boundaries. One of the easiest ways to get burnt out is to only focus on work. Many leaders in the workplace fall victim to burnout because they don’t give their personal lives enough attention. Avoid falling victim to this by making time for activities and relationships that make you happy and fulfilled at and beyond work.
  • Get in touch. Finally, you should pay more attention to friends, colleagues, and family members who support and uplift you. Having people around you who share your values and inspire you to be your best self is good for helping you be whole. 

 Being Innovative: Experimenting with New Approaches

In leadership, innovation is a willingness to challenge. It is about creativity and adaptability. Innovation demands a curious mind willing to experiment, learn, and improve.

Being innovative is important for growth and competitive advantage. As a leader, you have the tools to guide your team or company to a breakthrough or advancement.

By being innovative, you improve these chances. In addition, you influence others to be creative, solve problems effectively, and think ahead in their processes. 

How to Be Innovative

  • Embrace technology. As a leader, you should stay ahead, and one way to do that is by embracing new technology, especially the type of technology that can spark changes in your industry. Learn about them, experiment with them, and figure out how they can help you and your team. It is a sure way to stay ahead and be prepared for changes. 
  • Lead by example. One thing I’ve learned throughout my career is that embracing change is scary and difficult, whether you are a leader or an employee. If you are nervous about trying new things in the workplace, imagine how your team members feel. You can help them by being an example. Show that you are willing to embrace change and new things. In addition, be open to new ideas and feedback. 
  • Encourage experimentation. I’ve been limited by leaders to avoid trying something new because things work as they should. After that, innovation became rare. You should create a safe space for employees to take risks, examine new ideas, and learn from failure. If you show fear, then your employees will likely do the same. Thus, you dim the potential to be inspired by others’ innovations. So, encourage your team members to experiment by celebrating successes and lessons learned. 
  • Encourage shared ideas. Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places—and sometimes, it comes from right in front of you. To generate innovation, you can encourage collaboration between team members by setting up brainstorming sessions, knowledge-sharing meetings, and meetings for open dialogue.

Being Purposeful: Aligning Actions with Values

Being purposeful means aligning your actions with a more significant meaning beyond personal goals or the good of the company. Being intentional is a true challenge as it requires a clear vision, goals, values, and, most importantly, commitment. 

Being purposeful is necessary for fulfillment, engagement, and generating motivation. When you have a clear vision or goals, you inspire others to follow in your footsteps. They will sense a sense of meaning and fulfillment in what you do. In turn, they will want to create or participate in something greater than themselves. 

How to Be Purposeful

  • Measure impact. Always examine the effects your actions and decisions have. Ensure they always align with your values and purpose. An excellent way to ensure this is to set clear goals and priorities that reflect your purpose. The goal is to make choices that support your future. 
  • Communicate your vision. Do you have a vision? Speak it to your team members. By effectively communicating your vision, you inspire others. They will be more willing to get behind your vision and work towards it.  
  • Define your purpose. Always take the time to reflect on your goals and passions. Consider how you can better align your actions with a higher purpose that aligns with your values and aspirations.
  • Lead with intention. Finally, I know that others like and respect a ladder that is deliberate in their actions and decisions. Always set clear goals and prioritize to support your vision. In addition, reexamine and adjust your choices to ensure they always support your vision. 

Be a Better Leader Have a Richer Life: Elevate Your Leadership

The path to becoming a better leader and leading a richer life extends far beyond the confines of the workplace.

Stewart D. Friedman’s concept of total leadership offers an all-inclusive approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of our work, home, community, and self.

‘Be a better leader have a richer life’ challenges us to make intentional choices that create value across these domains.

Being real calls for authenticity and transparency. Being whole reminds us to prioritize our well-being and personal growth.

Being innovative encourages us to embrace creativity and adaptability. Being purposeful challenges us to align our actions with a higher purpose.

As leaders, it is your responsibility to lead by example, inspiring and empowering those around you to reach their full potential.

Adopting these principles in your leadership practices enhances your effectiveness as a leader. In addition, it creates a more fulfilling and enriching life for yourself and those we serve.

So, commit to leading better, living richer, and embracing continuous growth and transformation. In doing so, you improve yourself and uplift those around you.

Be a better leader have a richer life—it’s right in front of you, and the possibilities are endless!

About Author

Waithira Njagi is a seasoned wellness and relationship content writer with nearly a decade of experience. Her passion for helping others navigate the complexities of personal growth and connection shines through in her engaging and insightful writing.
With a knack for distilling complex topics into easily digestible pieces, Waithira's work is geared toward readers seeking guidance and inspiration on their journey to holistic well-being.
When she's not crafting engaging articles, you can find Waithira curled up with a stack of romance novels– always rooting for love to win– or enjoying quality time with her beloved family. Her dedication to spreading love and positivity is evident in everything she creates.

Waithira is here to remind you that life, much like their stories, is a tapestry of connections - to loved ones, and the endless adventures found in books.

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