Doing These 4 Things Every Day Keeps Me Resilient As a Senior Leader

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Doing These 4 Things Every Day Keeps Me Resilient As a Senior Leader

Photo courtesy of Bank of America

Fairygodboss
Fairygodboss
May 28, 2024 at 7:58AM UTC

Kimberly Dautovic looks at work-life balance less as a static box to check, and more as an “ongoing target.”

“I think balance is about setting goals and putting a plan together to achieve them, but also taking it easy on yourself when a day doesn’t go according to ‘plan,’” Dautovic recently shared. “It is so important that we listen to our own mind and body.”

That need to bring a dose of mindfulness and compassion into one’s daily routine has, of course, only been amplified by the events of 2020. And as someone with a high-level role at work — Dautovic is a Director at Bank of America, where she’s worked for the past 12 years — it’s crucial that her routine helps her stay resilient. Below, she shared with us four of the things that enable her to keep making strides professionally while feeling okay personally.

1. She has a routine, but still keeps things flexible.

“I like a ‘flexible routine’ — I know, an oxymoron if there ever was one,” Dautovic said. “Lately a typical day has been all about being flexible, so I set goals of what I want to accomplish but shift priorities as needed, and some days the goals get moved to tomorrow.”

Important within this routine is making sure she’s still dedicating time to strategic thinking. 

“I utilize my calendar to block time each week — this way, I consistently have time to think strategically and creatively and step out of the tactical day-to-day part of my role,” she said. “The strategy is just as important, but if you don’t make time, it doesn’t happen naturally.”

2. She prioritizes transparency.

Of the past several months, Dautovic says the biggest challenge has been managing “the consistent changes and adjustments” for herself and others at work.

“During the first few weeks, getting 85% of our workforce up and running at home to support our clients was a big undertaking,” she recalled. “As we were hitting our stride working from home, our communities were impacted from the pain and loss from racial injustices and inequality. And recently, we’ve experienced power outages and other weather impacting our employees.”


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While none of these things were easy — or comparable, she clarifies — keeping dialogue open has been an immeasurable help.

“We’ve worked with our leaders to ensure they’re supported and that they’re having open conversations with our employees,” she said. “As all of this has been challenging, and we've certainly learned along the way, I am very proud of the conversations and transparency we delivered throughout.”

Of course, having open, emotionally sensitive conversations is something that Dautovic’s team is well accustomed to. 

“I lead a segment within Consumer Investments that hand-holds beneficiaries and heirs through the transition process after a client has died,” she explained. “Our teams receive specialized grief and empathy training to better understand and connect with clients during this difficult time… I love that we are able to make a very difficult time easier, make meaningful connections and help clients make the best decisions financially.”

3. She doesn’t try to do it all solo. 

Throughout this whirlwind year, Dautovic says her colleagues and Bank of America as a whole have provided a crucial amount of support, reminding her there’s no need to go it alone.

“The bank has been incredible throughout the global health crisis for all of us. We have so many resources to help our teammates – from enhancements to back-up childcare and mental health resources, to tips for staying effective and focused in our work-from-home environment – and too many more to list,” she said. “The biggest support has been the leadership team that I work with – we are all similar in that we roll up our sleeves and do what it takes to get the job done, but have different perspectives that ensure we’re thinking about all the angles and questions to do things effectively. The strength at the bank is the power of the team.”

And she’s thankful for the support she receives at home, too: “My husband is the chef in our home which also helps a lot after a crazy day!”

4. She knows what helps her decompress and actively builds those things into her schedule.

Knowing the things that make you feel okay, and taking responsibility for ensuring those things regularly happen, is something that Dautovic takes seriously.

“I decompress in a few different ways. On a regular basis, taking spinning classes at home is time for me to clear my head, and after a long or particularly stressful week, I’m either at the beach or enjoying a night in with a few go-to favorite movies or TV show reruns,” she said. “It also really helps to have something bigger to look forward to.  I know a lot of travel has been cancelled or put on hold due to the coronavirus (my own wedding celebration included!), but we’ve found places that we can drive to and are not vacation hot spots so we feel safe and can still get away for a few days.” 

Making these reinvigorating activities a regular feature of her work week — and doing that with the support of her company — keeps her feeling engaged and energized, both personally and professionally.

“For me, balance is when I’m working toward my goals (professional and personal) and listening to what I need on the path to achieve them,” she added.

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