This Thanksgiving week, I hope many are taking the time to be with family. But I also know this is a week to stop, process, and find new perspective on work life integration.
Through all my executive coaching initiates this year, there is a common theme, exhaustion! Leaders are working hard to drive change, maximize transformation, and deliver results. But as timelines are shortened, resources are conserved, and priorities continue to multiply, these leaders continue to take it all on themselves. The superhero mentality to try to “save the world“ doesn’t last long. Soon, the superhero is replaced by the exhausted hero. The firefighter that is scurrying from fire to fire trying to put out fires, but not seeing the big picture of how fires start.
And it is taking a toll on the American workforce. Exhausted Hero’s are taking less care of themselves and their balance. Check out this data from the U.S. Travel Association, Oxford Economics and Ipsos found that out of the 768 million vacation days in the U.S. were left unused in 2018. 236 million vacation days were completely forfeited with $65.5 billion in benefits lost. More than half of Americans (55%) failed to use all their time off in 2018. Are you one of the many Americans this week who is taking the minimal time off because “there is too much work to do?”
As you enjoy the Thanksgiving break, take time to evaluate how you are spending your time. Are you driving results, completing tasks, and serving as a technical expert? Or are you spending time managing your team, creating vision, and influencing change? If you are a leader of people, don’t be an exhausted hero. Be a strategic manager who delegates, influences change, sets vision, and most importantly coaches your people. It isn’t about achieving less. It is about using the team strategically to accomplish more.
The role of a Corporate Exhausted Hero is not a life sentence. It isn’t even decided by others. It is a choice you make: to lead or to do.