The other day in my mastermind group, one of the focuses was on how we take care of ourselves, and how it affects our personal productivity. It sparked a lot of conversation because the premise was intriguing:
"Say you have a million dollar racehorse. Your goal is to get that horse to win! So, to do this, do you feed it crap, work it too hard, don't allow it to rest, and never give it a day off?
No, of course not.
You feed the horse the best food available, and ensure that it has adequate nutrition. You make sure the horse works out, but not too hard, or it won't be able to perform at its best. You make sure that it has the rest it needs, inlcuding the days off it must have to be at its best performance level...right? Otherwise, what is the point of having a million dollar racehorse?"
Think about it. What are your dietary habits like? Your workouts - do you work yourself too hard, or too little? Do you give yourself permission to rest and take care of yourself, or are you always putting yourself last, even at the expense of your personal mental, emotional, and physical energy?
You can't expect yourself to operate at your best if these things aren't all being taken care of. Yet, for most of us, that's exactly how we choose to treat ourselves - like a workhorse, always working, always taking care of others...never able to take a break.
Here, I'm not talking about basic needs: sustenance food or shelter, but about higher needs. Needs that enable you to operate at your highest level. These can be more than just good nutrition and exercise - for most of us, we are also talking about personal and emotional needs.
Meeting our needs often feels selfish. But think about it: when you behave in a way that you don't respect, or that doesn't serve you, what need are you getting met? Usually, there is actually an answer. Maybe you are getting things done more quickly. Maybe you are saving yourself from boredom, or getting acknowledgement for hard work well done. Maybe you are retaining self-control in an emotionally charged situation. It can mean a lot of things...but at the end of the day, your reaction is utimately draining you of energy and makes you suffer. In turn, this usually results in making others around you suffer.
Getting your needs met is often a win-win, because when you do, your energy increases, your suffering and dissatisfaction diminishes, and those around you also experience much less stress and dissatisfaction. Mental and emotional fatigue is one of the greatest enemies to productivity.
Wow. Getting your needs met isn't selfish, after all.
One of the fundamental problems we have in the workforce today is job dissatisfaction. This happens, of course, for many reasons, but at the end of the day as leaders, managers and those looking to head up teams, increasing employee engagement & productivity and reducing workplace conflict must be a priority.
The line between work and personal life shrinks more each day. Although businesses have to cater to the bottom line, most of the time, the reality is that catering to profit without considering the needs of the staff or team members is a recipe for a broken situation and ultimately, a loss of productivity and revenue.
Although getting there isn't always easy for businesses, the first step is to realize that it comes down to simple math:
I want to be a racehorse, not a workhorse. So does your team (and so do you!) Leadership, then, is about setting the stage to make it possible within the workplace.
Nicole Wipp specializes in conflict prevention and resolution for individuals and businesses.
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