Cool Thing #35: Should you ask employees to work less?

Reflecting on coaches who sleep in their offices, Bruce Arians, two-time NFL Coach of the Year, said this…

What the hell are they doing?

The work will always be there, their kids won’t.

I tell my coaches, you miss a recital — piano, dance, whatever — a football game or basketball game, I’ll fire you.

Let me say again: That’s from a guy who’s the TWO-TIME COACH OF THE YEAR.

In my old “Corporate Curmudgeon” newspaper column I once joked, “What’s another name for a workaholic? (Wait for it…) Employee of the year.”

That was me trying to laugh at the sad trend of corporations’ demanding total commitment from employees, especially managers. There are plenty of executives who take pride in overworking people, boastfully saying crap like, “We work half-days here – pick whichever 12 hours you want.” Sad.

Sure, there are times for extraordinary effort and as I recall times we worked half the night on some critical project, I smile at the memories. However, reflecting over my career, the best people I ever worked with were the ones devoted to their families or communities or religions. There were good people, not just good employees.

Those who were totally devoted to the job, to the exclusion of nearly everything else, ended up not just overworking but overreacting and overthinking. Their work eventually suffered, like an overfertilized plant.


Here’s the point:

If your people are routinely working exceptionally long hours, you have failed. You may not have failed as an executive, not yet, but you certainly are failing as a human being.

If you want good employees, you must start with good people. And good people care about their families, faiths and communities. They do good work and go home. And they want to work with other good people who do likewise.

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