Written by: Karen Bashford, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
In the demanding leadership landscape, a recent Harvard Business Review article, provocatively titled "Want to Be a Better Leader? Stop Thinking About Work After Hours," confronts the prevalent notion that constant contemplation of work enhances leadership effectiveness.
This piece advocates for a recalibration of focus, emphasizing the need for leaders to ponder why they think about work at home, potentially jeopardizing their professional standing and their emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Join us on a journey to unpack the intricacies of leadership, self-awareness, and the pursuit of a balanced and fulfilling life.
Empowering leadership for optimal success
How much time do you spend focused on work – I don't mean working but thinking about work.
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review titled Want to Be a Better Leader? Stop Thinking About Work After Hours. Here's the link for the full article. Want to Be a Better Leader? Stop Thinking About Work After Hours. (hbr.org)
The authors' research highlighted the detrimental effect of spending too much time thinking about work as a leader.
As a leader, you are responsible for leading through your actions. Therefore, you should question why you focus on work at home, which can harm the staff's perception of you and your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
What’s really going on?
You are human and can expect periods of self-doubt, lack of confidence, and feeling that you are not good enough.
However, if you continually think about work and cannot switch off. It may be because you fear failure and the judgement of your peers, subordinates, or superiors. This fear can drive you to work relentlessly, seeking to avoid potential setbacks and mistakes or appearing incompetent.
Or are you a perfectionist? Do you need everything to be perfect? If so, you will make working or leading cohesively harder for yourself and your team. This will create considerable stress within your working environment and spill over into your home life.
Work may be a refuge for you, a deliberate distraction from pressing issues such as personal relationship problems, burnout, or health concerns. However, avoiding these challenges by immersing yourself in work is a short-term solution that exacerbates the underlying issues.
A balanced approach is the best policy
You must strive for a more balanced approach to foster a healthier mindset and emotional well-being. Here are a few strategies to consider:
Establish clear boundaries between your work and personal life. Designate your time at work on work-related thoughts and allow yourself uninterrupted personal time once you leave the office. Make it a habit to leave work at work.
Create time for regular reflection on your motivations for focusing on work outside of office hours. Identify any fears or insecurities and work towards addressing them.
Embrace delegation and collaboration. Recognize perfection as an unattainable goal; shared efforts often yield superior results.
Instead of using work as an escape, confront personal challenges directly. Seek support from friends, family, or professionals to navigate difficult times. Or consider exploring with professional help whether you have hidden beliefs or habits that influence your behaviour.
Recognize that your well-being is paramount for effective leadership. Incorporate activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional health into your routine.
In conclusion, acknowledging and addressing the reasons behind continued work focus is pivotal to achieving optimal success, being an authentic, empathic, self-aware leader committed to nurturing the organization's success and the well-being of themselves and their team.
Therefore, balancing professional responsibilities and personal well-being is essential for improved leadership.
And while anyone can be a leader, not everyone has the confidence or self-awareness to look within to question, and take action to change how they manage their own lives.
A mentor, coach, or therapist can shine the spotlight on any unseen memories or emotional blocks that affect one's ability to be an effective leader for oneself or others.
Karen Bashford, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Karen Bashford is a Soul Healer, Change Facilitator, and intuitive Mentor on a mission: to empower women to be calm, confident and healthy leaders in their businesses and personal lives. Founder of The KB Method and The D.R.E.A.M. System, she brings rapid and enduring change to countless lives. Karen's journey through childhood neglect, two abusive relationships, life-threatening illnesses, and financial struggles provides the platform for her to be a thought-provoking and inspiring leader and mentor.