Raising the level of your leadership

Turning “Always On” Off

offThe gist of last week’s post was leaders are always on—“whatever you are doing, your followers are listening and watching and in the smartphone age, videoing. There is no such thing as off the record for leaders. Everything is on the record and may well be on the recorder”—accept it and get over it. (You can read the post at Always On.

Of course, the truth is if you don’t turn off now then, like a light bulb, you’ll burn out. A burned out light bulb has some damaged parts rattling around in it. You burn out and you will too.

Turning off is easier said than done. Here a few truths about why it’s hard:

#1 We have a hard time accepting that our organization (business, church, school, etc.) can get by without us, even for a few days. Our egos insist that we are essential and calamity is certain if we don’t stay on top of things.

#2 We are addicted to email, Twitter, fb, texting, and so on. Even when we don’t need to, we love to check in just so “we’ll know what is going on.”

#3 Rest and Escape are not the same thing. You can rest for a couple of days at the beach. Escape—turning it off—takes longer for most people because our minds are harder to shut down. (I discuss rest and escape in more depth in 16 Stones. Send me a comment with your email address and I’ll send you the rest and escape section of the book.)

#4 There is often a competition to be first to the “tell the boss,” and with easy access via cell phones, this is hard to thwart.

Every situation is different so I don’t have a one size fits all solution. Here are a few practical suggestions that may help:

#1 Don’t check email or texts from work after you get home unless you are in a crisis that can’t wait until tomorrow morning (almost everything can). You will never get turned off if you are constantly checking in.

#2 Don’t read business related material the last couple of hours before bedtime. Read something that won’t crank up your mind and rob your sleep.

#3 Don’t take work home unless you absolutely have to. Stay at the office an extra hour so when you are home, you are there body, soul, and mind.

#4 When you are on vacation, set a “no calls” policy unless the sky is absolutely falling. Also, remember that “good news” will crank up your mind as much as bad news.

#5 __________?_____________—send a comment on what works for you.

One final point: don’t be a boss that abuses your employees by disrupting their vacations and home time. A 9:15pm call should be an emergency that can’t wait—meaning there is something we “need to do right now.” Don’t disrupt their sleep by asking them to “think about it” overnight.

If this post was interesting and useful, please forward it to friend.

© Copyright 2015 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company

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