Want to be a more effective leader? Disconnect after work

Disconnecting from work after hours can improve leadership skills, boost employee performance, and enhance overall wellbeing.
By: | April 14, 2023

Disconnecting from work after hours can make leaders more effective in their roles. Specifically, managers who disconnect from their jobs at home feel more refreshed the next day, are identified as effective leaders, and can better motivate and guide employees, compared to managers who spent their off-hours worrying about work.

On the other hand, less-experienced leaders were especially prone to becoming ineffective if they spent their time focusing on their jobs at home, according to a study titled, The importance of leader recovery for leader identity and behaviour.

Led by researchers from the University of Florida, the University of Arizona, and Florida State University, the study revealed then when leaders were thinking about the negative aspects of work during their off hours, they could not recuperate their energy by the morning and saw themselves as less leader-like and were not as effective, as rated by their subordinates.

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The researchers recommended that organisations encourage work-life balance by reducing after-hours emailing and expectations for on-call work to cultivate effective leaders. Individuals can also foster this balance and develop leadership skills by engaging in activities that help them unwind and reset, such as exercising, socialising with friends, spending quality time with family, engaging with TV shows, books, or hobbies, or finding other ways to decompress from work.

Klodiana Lanaj, a professor in the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business, and lead researcher of the report, said, “The simple message of this study is that if you want to be an effective leader at work, leave work at work.”