Leadership is all about Sleeping and Giving Up


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I recently had the opportunity to hear Arianna Huffington speak at HubSpot’s Inbound Conference. She spoke on a number of topics during her address, but she had three points on leadership that really struck a chord with me.

  1. Leaders would do better to act like gazelles: When gazelles see a threat, they run and run until the threat is gone and then they graze. In current workplaces, we are often running all of the time, and not taking the time to graze. We eat lunch at our desks, we leave the office but check our email until we fall asleep, and we do this as a badge of honor. We brag about this and feel superior to those that don’t do those things. But why? Are people more efficient when they are working 24/7? Research points to no. This leads to her second point.
  2. Sleep is a leader’s strongest weapon: An exhausted leader isn’t a good leader and neither is a burnt out one. Taking the time away from work to relax and renew one’s energy and brainpower will lead to better decisions and more efficient work. This doesn’t just refer to sleep at night. Many leaders throughout history, including JFK and Winston Churchill were known for taking naps, and no one thinks less of them because of it.
  3. Don’t be afraid to quit: When something is not working, leaders need to know when to throw in the towel. Whether it’s a project, a new hire, a strategic initiative, etc. a good leader needs to be able to recognize when it’s not going well and have the courage to end it before it gets worse. It is always tough to admit a mistake but people typically have more respect for someone that owns up to mistakes and attempts to right them quickly than someone that lets a problem fester.

It’s not just a leader’s responsibility to hold themselves to these points, but to also create a workplace culture that encourages this for employees. A culture in which people truly unplug from their work in the evening and are encouraged to recognize when something is failing and to fix it is a better workplace for all employees.

Do you think that in today’s world, a workplace that follows Arianna Huffington’s tips is possible or is it idealistic? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Abby Smith
Abby joined the Forum team as Marketing Coordinator in August 2012, managing Forum's corporate marketing initiatives. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University in 2011. She works out of Forum's Boston office.


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