New research supports what your Mom always told you – “You need a good night’s sleep.”
Here is a key takeaway from the research as reported in Harvard Business Review*:
“It is clear that you can squeeze in more work hours if you sleep less. But remember that the quality of your work – and your leadership – inevitably declines as you do so, often in ways that are invisible to you.”
What are these “invisible” ways leadership can decline due to limited sleep? Here are some details from the research. Sleep derived leaders are . . .
. . . more impatient, irritable, and antagonistic.
. . . more likely to exhibit abusive behavior, which results in lower team engagement.
. . . seen as less inspirational and charismatic.
. . . prone to poor decision-making, lack of self-control, and poor creativity.
. . . more likely to promote bad sleeping habits, such as boasting about working on emails till 3AM and praising others who do the same.
Yikes! This is not good. If you want to reform your sleep habits, here are some tips from the researchers:
*Stick to a consistent bed time
*Avoid caffeine seven hours before bed time and alcohol three hours before
*Exercise – but not right before bedtime
*Use relaxation and mindfulness meditation before sleeping
*Stay away from the Smart Phone as much as possible in the evenings
*Consider napping. While not embraced widely yet in the US, some companies such as Google and PriceWaterhouseCoopers have nap pods for employees. They understand that a twenty minute nap can make a person more productive.
More effective leaders sleep well and are higher performers. As Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says:
“Making a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions. If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of productive hours, but that productivity might be an illusion.”
So, sleep well and lead well!
*Barnes, C. M., Sleep Well, Lead Better, Harvard Business Review, September – October 2018, pp. 140 – 143.