Working people worldwide have something in common: a strong desire to balance their personal and professional lives. And few know that better...

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Working people worldwide have something in common: a strong desire to balance their personal and professional lives.

And few know that better than Steve Morris, founder of Steve Morris Associates, an international leadership consulting firm based in Singapore.

“It’s absolutely a universal human value to want to have balance in your life, to be able to focus not only on work but on your family, friends and self — and to put food on the table,” said Morris, who was born and raised in the United States.

He worked for the U.S. government and private industry before moving to Asia in 1989.

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“People everywhere are trying to strike that balance,” he said.

Morris, known as an expert on Asian- and multicultural-leadership issues, says he tries “to bridge East and West by helping executives to develop their teams and themselves and to realize their personal and professional goals.”

And it’s the latter — the personal and professional — that’s a hot international topic these days, especially among Asian business leaders, according to Morris, who has a staff of six and works with multinational clients, mainly CEOs, in 16 countries.

“Actually, I hear more about the need for balance from Asians, who often expect the organization to take care of them and who look to their bosses to make things right,” Morris said.

He’s worked with more than 3,000 senior executives worldwide over the past two decades.

“There’s a CEO here in Singapore who closes up and locks the office doors at 7 p.m. on Friday — otherwise his staff would stay working till midnight,” Morris said.

“Most executives believe the way to show you want to get ahead is by putting in long hours, but not this CEO. He wants well-rounded people.

“And in Bhutan, the king has instituted a gross domestic happiness measurement, which includes more than just financial performance.”

Morris discusses having a well-rounded life in his book, “Glorious Leadership! A Holistic Approach to Achieving Leadership Mastery and Work/Life Balance” (Lotus Bloom, $23.95).

“Cut down on your financial obligations, slow down your financial burn,” he advises.

“Don’t be afraid to leave the office at the end of the day or to say no to your boss. Treat your family as a client — if your child is playing in the school orchestra, you have to be there. Plan and take vacations.”

If full-time work is overwhelming you, “propose part-time work,” Morris suggests. “Most bosses love having you at their beck and call for a fixed salary, but they probably won’t fight the change.”

And another tip for those who want time to enjoy life:

“Get a boss who values work/life balance and respects the time you need for yourself and your family.

“And change jobs every two or three years.”

E-mail questions to Carol Kleiman at ckleiman@tribune.com. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.