This is relevant to all types of work and not just in sales.
You may not agree but I write this from a vantage point of having previously been this person….it is NOT impressive to be seen as ‘always on’! It is NOT impressive to supposedly be able to survive on a few hours sleep! It is NOT impressive when you reply to emails outside of ‘normal’ hours! This may be ‘impressive’ when you’re in your 20s but, trust me, no-one outside of their 20s thinks this is impressive….if anything, it’s the exact other way around.
What is impressive is when someone juggles a lot & achieves great things but not at the expense of their health.
What is impressive is when someone knows they need to switch off and they prioritise that over everything else.
What is impressive is when someone knows to leave their work life at the door and not allow it to infect their family life.
The World is so full on nowadays and our eyes, ears and mind are bombarded every second we’re awake – we all have our limits and there’s only so much that each of us can bear before something goes pop. If we wait until it goes pop then the chances are that you’ve left it too late so you need to learn the warning signs that your body gives and then don’t ignore them! For me, I know a break is needed when I start to make silly admin errors (I’m usually the Arkela of Admin!) or when I get tetchy with my family because of work pressures. Whenever they start to happen, I reach for the diary and make some time to have some time off.
I’ve been that leader who naively believes they have to be seen as superhuman by the team in order to win their respect and following. Sleep? Nah, that’s for losers…coffee and lots of it please! Lunch? Nah, that’s for losers (unless it’s on company expenses). Hitting target? That’s for losers….winners smash their target.
One of your primary responsibilities as a great leader is to set a great example so what example are you creating when you email your staff really late at night or over the weekend? Is there a risk that your staff feel obligated to do the same? If so, is there an even greater risk that this added pressure can lead to a breakdown? If that means you lose staff, was it really worth putting that pressure on them?
When your staff request time off, how do you react? Even a jokey off-the-cuff comment like, ‘more time off?’ can instil anxiety in your staff and make them feel conscious about protecting their health. Our role as leaders is to get the best out of staff by providing them with the best environment that consistently motivates them to make progress and develop. So, why is it that some leaders interpret this to mean that they have to squeeze every last ounce of productivity out of staff until the batteries are completely drained before ‘allowing’ them to have their legally entitled time off? Do you allow your vehicle’s fuel tank to go bone dry and conk out before you call help to get it refilled? Do you ignore all updates on your laptop and only do them when the laptop won’t work any longer? Do you allow your grass to grow so high that it’s taller than you are before you cut it?
Show your staff that it’s important to prioritise your mental & physical health.
Make sure the process for taking time off is easy and completely non-judgemental.
Stop trying to be superhuman in your misguided efforts to justify you as a leader.
Don’t push yourself nor your staff to the absolute limit.
Be the example.
If you need advice on this topic then don’t hesitate to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org