In our industry it is common to come across companies or teams where working long hours and burning the midnight oil is standard. While it may show results in the short term and sometimes be the only option, you should be extremely wary of defaulting to using this option regularly.
Working with clients I’ve seen too many companies that abuse this, reaching for this extreme option whenever the slightest glitch appears, or just work exhaustive hours every week. If this is your modus operandi you are likely doing your company a disservice and using brute force instead of actually leading your team to a better position.
I won’t go too long into why this is bad, but the obvious reasons include increased burn out, lower performance, and harming the team’s inclusivity. A place without respect for work-life balance will suffer from higher turnover of parents, students, or anyone that is actually trying to do anything other than work. Even if you’re doing an “optional blitz” where only those who can or want stay longer, you’re actively making everyone else feel like they are left out, or not pulling their own weight.
These, when they happen often, will chip away at the team’s ownership and ability to be creative and innovate. A team that is constantly running at 100% capacity (or more) cannot sustain their pace, just as a manager with a full calendar can’t proclaim to be doing leadership.
If you’re a single trick pony, and that trick is flooring the gas pedal whenever something comes up then you’re truly not that good of a manager. Instead of yelling at the sled dogs to run faster and faster, consider the reasons that always make you end up with an overweighted sled or to choose the wrong routes.
I’ve been talking to my clients about the 3 parts of a well balanced team that can deliver, Slack is one of them. Not the chat software, but the concept of making sure your team regularly has enough time to make sure things are still in order to keep running freely. This includes the regular mise-en-place of sustaining the current level, be it refactoring, handling tech debt, etc., and the more important long term issues such as self development and innovation.
Don’t fool yourself: No one innovates on the 4th day of a “war week.”
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