I’ll never forget early in my management career, getting an email from my boss at 5:43 am. I was getting ready for work, just out of the shower, hair dripping wet, checking email before driving to the office. I was wound up a little tight over this new position and this new boss. I wanted to impress. I made sure to reply to his email immediately, so he’d know I was “on it.”
The problem is, I was “on it” too much of the time. I gave the job all the time I possibly could, any hour of the day.
Not healthy. Not wise. Not a good example to my team.
How about you? Could you possibly be suffering burn out because you’re “on” too much of the time?
According to research, being “on” all the time is causing a real energy drain for millennial managers, threatening their performance.
So, what should you do about the overwhelming demands of your job as a manager? How can you ensure a healthy balance, giving your best to your work and your personal life?
Here are two important things…put guard rails around your time and delegate effectively.
Put guard rails around your time
Set times when you turn the work off:
This should be daily (say, after 7 pm), weekly (maybe you don’t work on Sundays for example), and vacation time. Honor the time-off commitments you make to yourself. Of course, things will sometimes come up that truly demand your attention during your scheduled off time. But if you get serious about it, more often than not you can honor the commitments you make to yourself (and your family) to be off.
Model a healthy work-life balance for your team
It’s especially critical for leaders to model this in our work-from-home pandemic era. Let your employees know you’ve committed to your own off time. Don’t answer emails in off hours. Now, if you’re a night owl, and you really want to spend your time doing that, then schedule those emails to go out during business hours. You don’t want to send other people into a work frenzy during off hours when they see your email come in. And don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s heroic to respond to emails at all hours. People will interpret your all-hours effort to mean they’re supposed to do the same. This breeds resentment, unhealthy competition, and burn out in your team.
Another reason you may be weary? Maybe you’re not delegating as well as you could.
Make sure you aren’t holding onto work that you shouldn’t be. Effective delegation is one of the most critical skills of a manager. When leaders don’t delegate, they keep the work to themselves, risking burnout and resentment, and they stifle the growth of their employees. That’s a recipe for mediocrity at best!
Make sure you delegate with clarity. The person you delegate to should be clear about these things:
- Why is this task important? How does it connect to the big picture?
- What resources and support do they have?
- What will a successful outcome look like?
- When is the work due?
- When and how will you monitor their progress (e.g., a midpoint check-in)?
John Maxwell said, “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”
Build your employees’ capability and confidence by delegating tasks that allow them to grow. This will create space for you to manage at a more strategic level.
You don’t have to suffer burnout. Guarding your time off, and delegating effectively, are gifts you give yourself, your employees, and your loved ones. Don’t wait to put these ideas into practice. The risks to your health and happiness, and your team’s effectiveness, are not worth it!
I challenge you to commit to 30 days of declaring and guarding your time off, and to delegating more intentionally. Then check in with yourself to see how you and your team feel it went. And let me know! I’d love to hear about it!
Need some help along the way? Launch is for you! It’s the ultimate manager’s masterclass. In this 12 week course, you’ll learn how to delegate masterfully, discover your management style, coach teams to success and so much more! Register here today.