Most people who have found themselves in leadership positions agree on one thing – leadership is exhausting! Leaders not only have to worry about their own deadlines, projects, goals, etc., but also the deadlines, projects, goals, etc. of their followers.
With so many plates to spin, it can be difficult for leaders to find the energy to do everything they need to do, and more and more evidence suggests that leaders are running out of juice. This is a problem not only for the leaders themselves, but also for the followers, as burnt out leaders tend to not be as effective. With this in mind, a recent article I co-authored in Harvard Business Review*, explored a tactic that leaders can use to help recover some of their energy.
There are a variety of techniques that have been studied to help leaders get some of their gusto back, but they all seem to have costs.
*Taking breaks can help recuperate, but it can almost be counterproductive for leaders because now they have even more stuff to catch up on when they come back.
*Drinking caffeine has also been shown to be helpful, but as most leaders can tell you that can only take you so far.
So the question is, is there a healthy, easy, reproducible way for leaders to give leaders a boost of energy?
Our research suggests:
*When leaders take a minute to think about themselves as good leaders, this can give them a little boost in energy that can help make them more effective at work.
*There is something unique about leaders identity as leaders, and that activating this identity can have benefits for leaders.
And the technique couldn’t be simpler – all you need to do is take a minute and think about something that makes you a good leader. It can be a personality trait, an accomplishment, an experience – anything that reminds you that you’re good at leading. The key is to think about it and focus on it, just for a few minutes, ideally in the morning.
So, rather than taking a break or drinking a gallon of coffee, take a minute and remind yourself that you’re a good leader.
*Lanaj, K., Foulk, T., Erez, A., “How Self-Reflection Can Help Leaders Stay Motivated,” Harvard Business Review, September 13, 2018.