As a coach, you know that many leaders are conflicted when it comes to truly disconnecting from work in the evenings.
A recent study provides some additional evidence that you can use to help your clients’ shift their mental model from “I’m a better leader because I do what it takes every day” to “I’m a better leader because I take time to recharge every day”.
1The belief comes in a variety of self-sabotaging flavors that I’m sure you’re skilled at identifying.
The Importance of Leader Recovery for Leader Identity and Behavior (Lanaj, Gabriel, & Jennings 2023) finds that on nights when leaders were able to disconnect mentally and behaviorally from work, the next day:
The first experience helps leaders to feel more energized the next workday while the second contributes to them feeling depleted.
Both are positive leader-congruent activities (for both leader and staff) and are hypothesized to be negatively associated with depletion. That is, the more depleted a leader is, the less we expect to see these two behaviors.
100 leaders and their staff were recruited for this study in 2019. They agreed to participate in daily surveys for 10 days.
Leaders rated their leader identity, psychological detachment, and affect-focused rumination using survey instruments from previously published research.
Staff rated their respective leaders on transformational behaviors and enacted power using survey instruments from previously published research.
Share the research finding as part of your next social media post, email, or workshop about the importance of disconnecting from work at night in order to promote both personal well-being and leadership effectiveness.
Use the research finding to help shift clients’ mental models about effective leadership.
Introduce your client to the term affect-focused rumination as a way of naming and taming.
Research Citation: Klodiana Lanaj, Allison S. Gabriel, Remy E. Jennings. The importance of leader recovery for leader identity and behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2023; DOI: 10.1037/apl0001092