Finding A Balance: Leadership and Family

29 September 2014 / by Ashley Freeman


“As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO.”

Max Schireson’s resignation letter

CEO of billion-dollar database company MungoDB just stood down to spend more time with his family, and it has rocked the HR and business worlds.

In a post on his blog, entitled, “Why I’m Leaving The Best Job I Ever Had”, Max Schireson detailed how travelling 300,000 miles a year, and commuting from Palo Alto, California to New York ever 2-3 weeks was depriving him of any time with his ‘3 wonderful kids’ and his ‘brilliant’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘infinitely patient’ wife.

In his resignation letter, he extols the virtues of a ‘special company’ with ‘amazing customers’ ‘a great product’ and ‘the strongest team.’ He acknowledges, too, that this decision may cost him his high-powered career and millions of dollars in potential earnings. For Schireson, though, it is simple.

Family must come first.

His break from the accepted mould of a male CEO, and his heartfelt resignation has gone viral across the web, and prompted us to think about leadership and how it can be balanced with family.


Balancing Leadership and Family


“Time for work and for family are both very important components of a full, meaningful life.”

Huffington Post


Max Schireson decided that to have a fulfilled family life, he had to give up high powered leadership. But does it always have to be a choice of one or the other? Can leadership and family be balanced in well-rounded life?

The first mistake leaders make is to see work and family as opposing forces, each draining time and energy from the other. It is important to manage your time so that when work ebbs, you are proactively fitting in meaningful family time, and vice versa. Sometimes work will have to take priority, which is okay, as long as family takes priority other times.

Do you have any secrets for balancing leadership and family effectively?  We’d love to hear about them.

According to a recent study by Forbes, there is good news for those of us working in corporate communications – we make the top ten list of professions with the best work life balance!