Nowadays, it has become painfully clear that managers have no issue throttling teams up almost constantly. We hear words like “drive results” or “push for answers”. In short, we have no issue operating a full speed.
But as I sit here writing this post (I typically write on Sunday evenings), at the tail end of a holiday weekend, with so much “driving”, “pushing”, “gearing up”, etc….I started to wonder: why don’t leaders spend more time emphasizing and enforcing down time, rest, and time off? Honestly, most leaders aren’t prepared to model the practices necessary to help the team understand that unplugging isn’t only expected, but necessary.
There have been numerous studies, books, and blogs on the effects that our “always on” society have on our teams and their members. So how can you as the leader go about setting the trend for down time by modeling it yourself:
- Go away, and don’t call (or email or IM or SMS) back – Yup. When you say you are going away, do it. Trust your employees. Delegate responsibility. The world is not going to end.
- Stop sending after hours emails – I am not good at this, but I am trying to change. Typically, we think that sending the note after work hours Is not big deal…they’ll pick it up in the morning, right? Wrong. Many people will answer as quickly as they receive them, thus intruding on their time out of the office. Especially if you lead global teams…..try and queue your emails up and send them out at the end of your day.
- Tell your employees about something that happened – Share with them the impact of disconnecting. Thank them for holding down the fort. Not only should you come back rested, but you should be being your trust quotient in your team…and them in you.
- Hold your team accountable – If you do the first three, the accountability part will come easier. And while it may not be easy, and certainly people feel obliged to keep things afloat, they need to know you expect them to disconnect. If the team member has planned properly, nothing should pop that can’t be handled. And if something does, you or one of their peers should be able to make a reasonable decision.
Great teams need to operate of high levels of creativity and focused execution. But those levels won’t happen without regular downtime to renew your mind, incubate ideas, and get the rest that allow you and your team to tackle the challenges ahead of you.
Here’s this week’s 5 for 5:
Why Experts Are The Last People You Want To Include In Creative Brainstorming – by Jackie Barretta – via Fast Company
SO WHAT: When I read an article like this, I often think of Burberry’s philosophy about leaving ideation to newer employees and putting the responsibility for guiding execution on the experts or veteran employees.
To Help Someone Succeed, Give Them This (It’s Free) – by Wade Burgess – via LinkedIn
SO WHAT: Encouragement = rocket fuel for your team
If Sleep Is So Important, Why Are So Many Of Us So Bad At It? – by Helen Williams – via Holstee
SO WHAT: Tie this article with the blog above. Give yourself permission to disconnect in the evenings and get some sleep.
Relearning the Art of Asking Questions – by Tom Pohlman and Neethi Mary Thomas – via Harvard Business Review
SO WHAT: One would think that asking questions should be straight forward….one would be wrong. Probably the best 5 minutes you will spend all week.
Being Inspired – by Sina Mossayeb – via Medium
SO WHAT: An article referencing Star Wars and leadership….yes, please! You must be inspired.
Have a great week.
All the best, kevin