Do you consider yourself a workaholic? How many hours do you typically work each day? Each week?
Be honest with yourself. Don’t exclude the time you spend in conversation during your commute, or reading and answering emails on evenings and weekends, or working while on vacation.
When you look at that number how does it make you feel?
If you’re like many corporate leaders, your answer might be “exhausted” or “stressed-out” or “overwhelmed.” These descriptors are commonplace and have become the norm, but are they necessary?
Some research shows that we’re working harder than ever, and there’s a cost to be paid in the way of productivity and engagement. Did you know that there are Workaholics Anonymous groups popping up everywhere?!
On a recent coaching call, my client mentioned that a co-worker proudly told her he worked upwards of 14 hours per day. Some people believe that if they are seen working longer, they’ll be perceived as better leaders. However, this begs the question: What are you doing that’s taking you 14 hours each day? And, what kind of example is that setting for those you lead?
Okay, admittedly there are some professions that notoriously work long hours (i.e. lawyers). However, there are many professions that require their employees stop working after a certain number of hours. Truck drivers, airplane pilots, and physicians are a few examples of such professions.
The reasoning is simple: it may not be safe, nor is it productive to push yourself (mentally or physically) past a certain point. To work beyond those limits results in more mistakes, unclear thinking and decision-making, and an overall decrease in work effectiveness.
Many leaders actually feel like these hours (although perhaps not their preference) are necessary or that they have no choice. When else can you actually catch up on the work you need to accomplish if not before/after the regular work day hours?
Working all the time is not only detrimental for you, but it can also be creating an environment where workaholism is expected of everyone.
Peer pressure is alive and well in the workplace. Leaders must think about the behaviors they’re modeling and the unintended consequences they might be bringing about.
Consider these common behaviors, their consequences, and tips on how to work smarter!
Constantly working long hours.
If you’re there when employees arrive, work through lunch, and are still there beyond quitting time employees might feel the need to follow suit. This can encroach upon their personal time, affecting their work/life balance, productivity, and overall satisfaction.
- Strive to model good balance yourself to empower your team to do the same
- Remember, it’s the quality of work that matters—not quantity of hours!
- Take time to set your top 3 priorities for the week to drive your actions. Our energy follows our intentions!
Sending emails late at night or on the weekend.
This might be the only time you’ve had to focus and you might not even expect a response but employees may feel compelled to answer immediately which can breed resentment.
- Consider the impact of sending out those messages beforehand and perhaps save them in your drafts folder until the next business day.
- Clearly communicate your intentions and expectations about responding to your employees to allay their fears about needing to be on call 24/7.
- Lay off the late emails yourself! Turning off screens earlier in the evening can improve your sleep and allow you to be fully engaged the next day.
Talking about all that you (and the team) “have to” or “need to” do.
This type of language removes the power of choice and can make people feel victimized by their circumstances.
- Reframe the situations to focus on the opportunities ahead.
- Use language that allows people to choose when and how to best accomplish the objective. Autonomy is king in motivation!
If you’re interested in changing your own work habits to create a more productive environment for yourself and those you lead, schedule a Complimentary Discovery Call with me to discuss your current challenges and to get clear on what your next steps may be.
You can also download my free gift, “The Rule-Breaker’s Guide to Managing Your Energy at Work” to begin taking back control of your energy and success!