Leading in uncertain times
“You cannot pour from an empty cup. You need to fill your cup first.”
That advice from Donnie Hutchinson is appropriate for life today, when we are all looking for ways to take care of ourselves in stressful times. But it’s also sound advice throughout our lives, said the adjunct professor in the School of Business Administration, who researches and teaches on work-life balance.
He is among the instructors who were asked to participate in a series of free, live online sessions hosted by UD’s Center for Leadership. These sessions focus on providing advice on how to lead others when life presents challenges. Hutchinson’s session, offered March 31, was Leading with Balance.
“Work-life balance for me is aligning your day-to-day behaviors with priorities in life,” Hutchinson said. “This is challenging at this time, but now there’s an opportunity to step back and ask, ‘How do I best make use of this time?’”
Hutchinson has spent his life studying how to balance a personal life with a professional one. He says that we can use this time to step back and reflect on who is important in our lives and how we have prioritized or failed to prioritize them.
“A lot of time, people say something is important to them, but if you check your day-to-day behaviors for the past month there’s a mismatch,” Hutchinson said. “That’s out of balance.”
The Center for Leadership, led by executive director Brent Kondritz, has opened these sessions to UD faculty and staff and the partners that the University has served both within the Dayton region and beyond.
“We really want to equip people with some tools and skills to get them through this trying time,” Kondritz said. “Being positive and practicing gratitude at a time like this can be very difficult, but we have so much to be grateful for.”
Kondritz said the center wanted to choose themes that were of immediate need, such as Leading with Disruption and Resilience: Make Stress Your Superpower. According to Kondritz, all of the sessions so far have had between 100 and 250 attendees. Almost all of the session facilitators have worked with the center before. The center has offered leadership training for 20 years.
“It’s a great way for us to learn, lead and serve in our own way,” Kondritz said. “I think we have a lot to be thankful for even though there’s a lot of tough things taking place.”
Hutchinson said that all leaders, whether at work or within the family, need to check in with others and help them manage through this time. Hutchinson discussed the need to focus on two things: our relationships with others and our health. He said he wants individuals to look at how they take care of themselves so that life does not pass them by.
“None of us live perfect lives,” Hutchinson said. “I’m a professor of work-life balance and this is my passion, but I always have room for improvement. There are times when we just need to hit the reset button. We all need to help each other.”
UD’s Center for Leadership will be offering its regularly scheduled classes virtually through Zoom starting the week of April 7. Alumni and employees of partner organizations can receive a discount on the cost. Details are available on the center's website. Kondritz said he wants to ensure that the Flyer community knows the Center is here to support them. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.