I used to work with a guy who always seemed to be getting in trouble with his wife for working during “non work hours.”
He would sneak into a different room after dinner to check his email only to hear her shout to him, “you’re not working in there are you?” I was always surprised to hear him talk about this because his office was right next to mine and I would hear her call him once in a while, most definitely during work hours. I was tempted to go into his office and say loud enough for her to hear me, “that’s not a personal call is it?”
Apparently she was okay with him using work time for personal stuff but using personal time for anything related to work was strictly forbidden.
I honestly don’t think that type of mindset works anymore. Let’s face it, technology, smart phones in particular, have burred the lines between “work hours” and personal time. I cross them ALL THE TIME. For my personal benefit.
I see nothing wrong with taking a few minutes in the evening to check email and even shoot off a quick answer if need be. That helps me start my next day in the office faster because I don’t have a bunch of email to go through first thing. I’ll admit I’m luckier than some in that I enjoy my work and actually like the people I work with. Even if I didn’t however there would still be the benefit to me of not starting my day under the crush of unanswered email.
I’ll look at my email on the weekend in case anything is going on that I need to see or in case a co-worker has a question I can help with. It seems perfectly normal to me. I also don’t have a problem taking a call from my wife or kids in the middle of a work day…that’s every bit as normal.
But, and some would say this is a pretty big but, there are times when I am totally disconnected from work and my precious smart phone. I’m focused on my personal life, to the exclusion of everything else.
Here’s another but…there are times when I’m totally focused on work. Some of the stuff I do is best done in a distraction free environment. So I create one for myself.
It’s all about balance!
I once asked one of my mentors who was perhaps the most successful salesperson who ever lived, how he defined success. His one word answer was balance.
He went on to explain that while you could be successful in one area of your life without being successful in others, true success, or complete success, required balance. He believed, and I agree with him, that you are kidding yourself to say you’re a success when any part of your life is less than successful. It’s the type of success I call “successbut.” Its like, “I’m a success at work but…” or “I consider myself a true success except for….”
If you’re a leader who expects your team to be available 24 hours a day everyday then you may have some success in your life but it’s most likely successbut. Your team will care more, they will do more, they will do it better, all of it, if you help them achieve balance in their life.
Authentic Leaders help their people become successful….in all areas of their life. If you only help your people achieve successbut then your missing a key component of Authentic Leadership.
Don’t miss out, find your own balance and then help your people find theirs too.