Tuesday, June 3, 2008

David is right again!

David Zinger just responded to my last comment that yes, you can take off a weekend, and it's important for your health. I agree. There was an interview on NPR yesterday with a CEO who was suffering from depression. He explained it was just too much work, not enough days off, and just too much of everything. I've seen similar comments in the leadership pulse study, with executives saying they are suffering from serious depression. The economic conditions do not help at all.

But sometimes, you have the same 'too much work' issue when things are going well. When you're an entrepreneur, or if you love what you do, you get into that "zone" (as Csikszentmihaly describes in his book "Flow"), and it's sometimes hard to just take off the weekend even when you know you should. The challenge is when to get out of the zone and back into the real world I guess.

Tracking where you are on a regular basis is important. In the research we're doing, we measure employee energy sometimes as frequently as weekly. There are two danger zones - too much (you're almost at burnout) and not enough (made it to burnout or de-energized for other reasons). From studying the data, it seems that checking in regularly and not letting yourself get into the 'bad flow' or the 'de-energize' state is important.

So back to our leaders - trouble is they don't have time to check in with themselves, and often no one is doing the checking in for them. They are just expected to do the checking. And back to employee engagement - let's get the leaders energized and engaged so they can do their job when we ask them to help their employees. We don't want more CEOs in the predicament that the one on NPR was in. Before they interviewed him, they talked to the wife of another CEO; her executive husband committed suicide from depression.

2 comments:

David Zinger said...

Theresa,
The stories of depression and suicide sadden me. They also give me a sense of gumption to do what I can to not let this occur. You have moved to me write on leadership energy,not so much as an expert but as a person who cares. I was an employee assistance counselor for Seagram Ltd. for 15 years and still have that deep well of caring.

What started as a list of 5 quick ideas has now morphed into about 15 ideas and is growing. I will post it Monday at my site and I'll let you know when it is up. I have quoted a paragraph from you and the question: How do we help leaders?

Thank you for rekindling my thoughts about such an important key in employee engagement.

David

Lawrence Polsky said...

Suicidal people aside, many leaders do not get it. Organizational productivity can not occur unless people take care of themselves. All people need exercising, laughing, fun, friends, eating well to thrive. If they do not get these things, that can are not contributing at an optimal level for the organization. Leaders need to lead the way in this area too, but just in business accumen.

I say suicidal people aside, as that people who committ suicide have larger personal issues than energy management. Unfortunately I speak from experience with people I know who have committed and tried to commit suicide.