Entrepreneurs, business owners, and top executives, for the most part, are workaholics. But is this necessary to succeed? Part of the reason for this is the passion they have for their enterprise. The other reason, too often, is because they believe the enterprise would not or could not keep running without their involvement.
When employees are in the mix, the work ethic of owners or managers can either inspire productivity in others by their example or cause unintentional side effects that negatively impact productivity. Is your work ethic sending the wrong message, affecting productivity?
1. In Sickness vs. In Health: I recently facilitated a strategy meeting where one of the partners should have been home in bed. Instead, this partner was insistent to work regardless of health because this was her work ethic. The bug quickly spread throughout the organization. The end result was several weeks with no one in the company actually producing at 100 percent due to the domino effect of the partner's decision to work in sickness.
2. All Work vs. Work Hard, Play Hard: Everyone dreams of loving the work that they do. This doesn't mean that work is all that you do. Enjoying your work should also equate to enjoying your life. When your nose is always to the grindstone, you send the message to others that this is all that matters. What often happens is a mindset of looking busy versus actually being busy in a purposeful and effective manner. Taking time out to celebrate work successes and encouraging enjoying life outside of work keeps everyone focused and intentional while at work, in order to get more accomplished.
3. Out of Sight, Out of Mind vs. In Sight, Top of Mind: Are you a workaholic leader, who is so busy working that you are not accessible or visible to the people working for you? A study on employee engagement by MSW Research and Dale Carnegie affirmed that employees were more engaged based on the actions and attitudes of their direct supervisor and their belief and confidence in top leadership. Being visible, engaged and approachable to employees reinforces that they matter and are an important component of the overall success for the company.
4. 24/7 vs. Disconnect to Reconnect: Are you connected to your work 24/7 even when not physically at the office? Do you expect the same from your employees? Chances are, even if you claim not to expect the same, your actions speak louder than your words in what they believe is required of them to succeed in their roles. Moreover, when this mixed message is the reality, their productivity is directly impacted because, like you, they never disconnect to reconnect and recharge. When your mind is at rest or enjoying a leisure activity, it allows your subconscious to go to work in creatively processing. Many "aha's" occur when being disconnect.
5. Checking Up vs. Checking In: While away from the office, are you more likely to call in to check up on your people or check in with them. The difference is profound when it comes to the mentality of your employees. If they feel as though you are checking up on them, it means they don't feel trusted and respected to do their jobs. If you are merely checking in, then the connection is more about assuring them you are available if needed, but also know they are effectively running the ship without you.
A strong work ethic is important to productivity, but does not mean you have to be a workaholic to demonstrate your commitment to your work. A strong work ethic is synergized by a strong life ethic, meaning you have a commitment to enjoy living as much as you enjoy working.
Sherré DeMao is author of the nationally acclaimed books, 50 Marketing Secrets of Growth Companies in Down Economic Times, www.50marketingsecrets.com, and Me, Myself & Inc., www.memyselfandinc.com, Her column seeks to help business owners build and grow sustainable enterprises and businesses with economic value and preference in the marketplace.