If you’re going to make it to the C-Suite, hard work is pretty much a given.
After all, there are only so many coveted executive positions to go around, and lots of talented people who want them.
But while working your tail off is a good way to climb the ladder, putting in too many hours can hurt you once you get to the top, social psychologist Ron Friedman writes in an article for the Harvard Business Review.
According to Friedman, people are measured by their technical performance at the beginnings of their careers, but as they become managers, they are increasingly judged by what they can accomplish using their interpersonal skills.
As a result, he says that working too hard can be dangerous because low energy, caused by not getting enough sleep, makes people more likely to misinterpret the body language of the people around them and more likely to be ensnared in verbal conflict.
Friedman says overwork also hurts decision-making ability, an important skill for any manager, pointing to scientific research that shows people make worse choices when they are deprived of sleep.
“Overwork and the sleep deprivation it fosters prevent you from seeing problems clearly and identifying creative solutions,” Friedman writes.
Finally, Friedman says that leaders who work too many hours set the expectation that their team members can never fully disconnect from their work. This, he says, makes people less engaged with their jobs, drains their emotional energy, and can even cause head and stomach aches.
“… when laboring non-stop becomes standard operating procedure, it’s difficult for employees to feel like working hard is their choice,” he explains.
Instead, he writes, overworked leaders should slowly try to create small habits that allow them to disconnect, like leaving their smartphones in another room when they get home at night, or taking up an active hobby like biking.
Read the full article here.
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