Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
In 2013 Dr Ian Hesketh, who was a researcher at the University of Manchester, coined the term leaveism to describe how employees take leave for a variety of non-holiday related reasons.
For example, he found that police officers in the USA were taking leave instead of days off sick. The pay was better and there was no suspicion that they weren’t coping with a stressful job.
He also found examples of workers taking leave to disguise child care issues.
Then the term was broadened to include people who take leave in order to give themselves a free space…with which to catch up on their work.
And people who make sure they are seen to be working, when they are supposed to be on holiday.
Checking emails and answering messages can seem helpful, but often hides the underlying message of…
A) I’m frightened to take a holiday, in case I will lose my job, or
B) If I’m not seen to be working the whole time I may lose out on promotion, or
C) If I don’t reply to this email I’m going to be told off!
An example of the latter happened to a friend of mine, a few years ago. The company policy was that smartphones had to be switched on at all times and all messages replied to promptly. The US parent office always needed answers to questions and didn’t like to be kept waiting.
My friend arrived at work one Monday morning and was admonished by his MD. Why had his phone been off on Saturday? There had been a complaint!!
Erm…it was the weekend!
He was at a party!
But, it was a birthday party!
No, not acceptable!
But, it was his birthday party!!
No. Not acceptable. The phone must be on at all times! Wasn’t he listening??
…He was. He resigned soon after.
It’s easy to see how leaveism can be encouraged by poor culture, demanding bosses and unhealthy attitudes towards staff welfare.
If you lead a team and are reading this…when did you last make it clear to people that holiday is holiday and sickness will be treated with respect?
During a job interview once the MD told me that he regarded all foreign business trips as short holidays and that I wasn’t expected to take all 15 days of the ‘generous’ leave allowance. He was surprised when I asked for a massive salary and refused to accept a penny lower. Ugh!
This week have fun being kind to people!
Next week: Mental First Aid
Language is really interesting. Imagine going into a Starbucks and having to mime a flat white with a muffin. Maybe give it a go and perk up a tiring week?
Without words, life becomes tricky!
I am constantly amused at how many words there are in business and how many of those are actually useful, and not simply industrial jargon.
When we drill down into a concept it can become surprisingly slippery. Take ‘leadership’ for example.
Tuckman’s 4 stages of team development is useful: forming, storming, norming, performing. Good to know and helpful for a leader to be aware of.
What I’ve found, on my travels, is that people know the model and yet can’t articulate behaviours that clearly identify each stage. We have a vague idea that ‘storming’ means disagreement and strong feelings, but what’s the difference between a team stuck in this stage and a team who are just having a bad day?
Well this brings me to the C word. No, not carrots, or cookies, or even (I can’t get the word out) Chrisssttmaa….nope couldn’t do it.
I’m talking about collaboration. An essential word for all leaders to have front and centre.
Let’s watch the team…
Are people listening? Or are they just waiting for the other person to finish speaking, before saying what’s been in their head all along?
Are they focussing on the problem, or the personalities?
Are they sharing skills and working out the best way?
And most importantly, is the leader attending to all these questions?
The effective leader is the person who needs to foster a collaborative environment, explain the goals clearly and invite ideas.
With the C word in our head we can quickly see (no pun intended) how well the team is doing and what more they might need from us.
Leadership made Cimple …now that was a sort of a pun.
Have fun promoting genuine collaboration this week.
Next week: Leaveism
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Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in
Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish
Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age
Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish
An insider's guide to working for yourself
Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish