I often hear leaders say that you have to push through or grind it out everyday in order to produce desired results. It’s like the 10,000 hour rule has been taken to the extreme in today’s workplace and leaders are pushing teams to work as many hours as possible. Unfortunately, many leaders have been brainwashed to believe that you must suffer to achieve optimum success.
The research is very clear that grinding it out day after day at your desk with no breaks makes people unhappier and less productive. It’s also energy draining mentally and physically. People who lack energy are less likely to take on challenges and risks, lower confidence and self-esteem, do not have the ability to lead with influence or take care of themselves physically.
There are simple things you can do as a leader today that steer you away from running your teams into the ground. Ways that will make you and your team more happy, productive and energetic.
Start Taking Breaks
Most employees are terrified that their boss will see them not sitting at their desk working all hours of the day. The reality is that your brain needs breaks in order to perform at optimal levels. You would not workout for hours without breaks. You take small and short rest periods between sets otherwise you would struggle to get through the workout that day. More importantly you will dread working out the next day.
Yet that is exactly what is being ingrained into team members and it’s no wonder engagement levels are extremely low. They have no mental energy to reach a flow state, be productive or come up with creative ideas.
Instead encourage yourself and team members to take small mental breaks every 60-90 minutes. This means stand up and actually walk away from your desk, even walking outside briefly for fresh air is great for your brain. It does not need to be long. Two or three minutes for a mental reset. Your breaks should not include checking email or social media. When done consistently your energy boosts, ignites creativity and allows you to go home to your family happier.
Eat Lunch Away From Your Desk
Countless leaders feel the need to eat lunch at their desks so they can feel like they are putting in more hours to get more done. This is a horrible habit for you personally and for employees to witness. Individuals who eat at their desks tend to overeat and eat foods of little nutritional value. It also aligns with taking breaks as previously mentioned.
You should take the time to get away from the office and actually enjoy the food you are eating. Even better is to ask employees and team members to join you. Small acts like this build trust and connection.
Sit down with members of your team away from the office and get to know them on a personal level. People will always work more effectively for people they care about. It’s a win-win for you, the company and the team. You can not expect to have a strong company culture without building trust first. Trust and rapport is most important.
In addition, you want to show everyone inside the company that breaks and enjoying lunches are a part of your culture. You do not want to create a fear-based environment where people think they always have to appear busy. That’s what leads to distractions and less productivity.
For most people it almost seems counterproductive to step away from work for a period of time. As leaders there is fear that if you leave you will come back to hundreds of fires to put out, clients will leave or that numbers will decline. Yet research continues to show that those who take vacations are more productive.
As human beings we operate more effectively when we are well rested. It’s why there are so many articles about getting the right amount of sleep to boost your energy. Lack of rest kills our ability to focus and when we cannot focus we get more distracted, lack creativity and ultimately perform below what we are capable of.
There are companies across the globe that actually pay their employees to go on vacation. These are leaders who are committed to building a culture where creativity flows, energy floods the building and companies continue to grow.
Many leaders have been trained to believe that the more hours you put into the workday the more productive you will become. Study after study shows that this is just not the case and as with accomplishing any goal it begins with your mindset.Leaders must shift away from the limiting belief that hours are correlated with productivity. Instead take breaks, enjoy the foods you eat and plan a dream vacation!
Written by Ryan Romano. Have you read?
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