High Performance and Time for Family? Be Like Darrell Green*

Darrell Green was an all-time great football player. While his teammates and coaches worked killer hours, Green kept “normal hours” to be with his family. His coaches and teammates didn’t mind. Here’s what we can learn from Green’s story.

Darrell Green hugs his son, Jared, 13, during a ceremony before his last game in 2002. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
Darrell Green hugs his son, Jared, 13, during a ceremony before his last game in 2002. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

“I just lived a normal life”

I was reading this interesting ESPN.com article about how pro football players transition back into family life after the season ends. One of the recurring patterns of these athletes is that they work such incredibly long hours during training camp, pre-season and the season, often living apart from their families, and then suddenly find themselves home. Encouragingly, most rededicate themselves to being involved fathers as a way to make up for lost time.

But one anecdote stuck out to me:

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Workplace Flexibility: The Key to Work-Family Balance?

Workplace flexibility is a key for working parents trying to balance work and family. Here are some questions that can help us assess the flexibility we have at work, and some ideas about how to leverage them.

a screencap of my recent HBR article
A screencap of my recent HBR article aimed at supervisors. What are its implications for us working dads? Keep reading to find out!

Last week, I wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review blog in which I advised well-intentioned supervisors on how to be more “family-friendly” while upholding performance standards. My advice was:

  1. Focus on What, Not How or When

  2. Get Better at Measuring Performance

  3. Delegate, Coach, and Let Your People Earn Trust

  4. Serve as a Work-Family Balance Role Model

The common thread for the first three items is allowing employees more flexibility in how, where and when they perform their jobs, while still maintaining high standards for what. Overall, I think it is sound advice for managers, and the piece was very well-received.

However, I largely write this blog to help my fellow working dads navigate work and family issues. So, what are the implications of this article for the working father?

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