Over the past year, working long hours from home or staying late and coming in on weekends has pushed many to the brink of burnout. We all, collectively, need a break.
Fortunately, leaders have seen the warning signs and are taking advantage of summer to encourage time off, closing down offices for a week or longer, or in the case of the entire country of Iceland, experimenting with a 4-day work week. Here’s why leaders should continue to recognize that we all need to slow down and recharge.
Good moods are contagious
Organizational psychologist Dr. Adam Grant recently explained how connecting in groups like attending a concert, camping with friends or going to a sporting event is good for everyone’s mood –– and then it spreads “collective effervescence.” “Research has found that people laugh five times as often when they’re with others than when they’re alone,” Grant writes. “Even exchanging pleasantries with a stranger on a train is enough to spark joy.” In other words, when people find joy outside of work in time off and vacations, they can bring back their positive moods to everyone they work with.
Practice what you preach
There’s one area where leaders absolutely need to model the behavior themselves: Practicing patience and respecting downtime. Once leaders are ready to slow down to act, they need to project this outward to the organization. When we work with leaders, we help them see if their words and non-verbal actions match up. Do they encourage time off, then repeatedly email when someone has an out-of-office autoresponder? Your people will notice the disconnect. That’s why leaders need to model their values and intentions, and practice what they preach when it comes to work/life balance.
Slow down during transitions
Finally, as many companies transition back to office or hybrid models, leaders need to slow down and help their team work through the changes. One leader we worked with brought extensive experience from previous global roles––and then sought to quickly implement what he thought was best in a new organization. One employee described him as “moving very fast, almost to the point of barreling through.” Ironically, in an attempt to save time and effort, this leader was making the process longer and more difficult—if not impossible. Slow down, and employees will better be able to speed up.
In the future, we shouldn’t have to be on the brink of burnout to recognize the value of recharging. Leaders should help their team be their best and most productive with down time, time off and the ability to process changes at their own pace.
At Living As A Leader, we offer a Leadership Development Series designed to produce leaders that can positively shape the cultural environment, reduce turnover and achieve crucial business initiatives. We do this by providing training, coaching and consulting with a focus on pragmatic communication tools for leaders at all levels of your organization.
For more information, contact Steph Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org