Perhaps it came on like a stampede of wild horses. Look out! Or maybe it crept up steadily over time like the warm water and the frog that stayed in it. Not a nice ending for the frog.
Once the responsibilities and difficulties of a new management role emerge fully, some find themselves in a dilemma. Maybe you. Maybe me. Maybe the new supervisor next door.
It starts out simple enough. You work through lunch to prepare for an important meeting. Then you accept meetings over your lunch period. Then, after a day of meetings, you stay after hours to answer waiting email. Unchecked, you attempt to get a jump on the week by working on Sundays. Just a couple of hours. Just a slice of time – a slice of life – every lunch, every evening, every weekend.
Before you know it, you perceive new expectations from others about your response rate and high productivity. You begin to realize you have created a new normal—and you’re not sure you like it.
Under stress and working too many hours, people tend to gain weight because the stress hormone cortisol tells the body to store fat. Eating patterns may include sugar, caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol to ease feelings of tension, frustration, and exhaustion. Self-esteem takes a hit and eventually feelings of resentment and anger arise. It’s not easy watching everyone else pull out of the parking lot when you know you have more to do.
Tell me truthfully—is this the way you want to work? The way you want to live? Is the water warming up or is it just me?
If you relate to any of this, I urge you to stop and consider.
You can’t offer your best self to any colleague or any organization if you are tired, chubby, and grumpy. Take a step back and reassess your work patterns. If you find yourself in hot water, step out while there’s still time and make some changes that are in your own best interest. You’ll be glad you did.
About the author:
Cathy Huett is the Director of Professional Services at The Ken Blanchard Companies. This is the fifth in a series of posts specifically geared toward new and emerging leaders. To read more, be sure to check out:
12 thoughts on “New Managers–Don’t Let The Job Steal Your Life”
What you descibe is exactly what happened to me when I got promotion and I also see it in new managers in my team. The key is be aware that it’s happening and devise a strategy to manage all the new demands on your time.
What I did was to put in place a time management system which helped me both quantify the work I had to do and, more importantly, identify what was important and to focus on these projects and tasks alone.
It is easy to fall into the trap, which I did, that getting though enormous amounts of work is going to build your reputation. Working late and working weekends seem to be the logical way to achieve the quantity you’ve aspired to.
What really matters, however, is that you deliver on what’s important. If you do this you can go home at a reasonable time and spend the weekends relaxing and recharging the batteries.
I would definately recommend taking your advice.
Your point about delivering on what is important is a great tip. We all need to scrutinize how we spent our time. Relaxing and recharging on weekends should be considered part of keeping yourself fit for the role as well. Thank you for your helpful comments.
You are right about delivering on what is important. We all need to scrutinize our time. I agree about recharging over the weekend. Imperative to remain effective.
I have spent the whole first half of the year reviewing my effectiveness as a leader. There are different phases of leadership in the tenure of a leader. In the early years the leader can risk some unbalanced leadership roles and be OK. As the leader progresses in age and responsibility, the risks increase.
Durring my Certificate of Global Leadership program at Thunderbird, our instructor challenged us with our leadership effectiveness through the book “Total Leadership”, which stresses the balance of work, family, community and self. Most leaders remain effective and neglect “self”. This works until the things you described begin to effect your leadership. Basically you become Un-Fit to lead.
I decided I would remain Fit to Lead and maintain an active exercise schedule with no exceptions. I also made sure to build into my schedule times to reflect. These changes not only helped me to be a more effective leader the changes helped me be a better spouse and father. I gained two for the price of one.
I will never go back because I want to be a Total Leader.
Well said and well done! You are a great example for the rest of us.
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