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Your Cell Phone is Impacting Your Leadership

“Time Off shows that just 14% of managers unplug when they’re on vacation. At the most senior levels of leadership, a mere 7% do.“ (Katie Denis, Emailing While You’re On Vacation Is A Quick Way To Ruin Company Culture, Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 8/22/18.)

Every email sent by a vacationing leader erodes company culture and gives employees the impression that time off isn’t really time off. In addition, continuing to work while vacationing sends the message that you don’t trust those you left behind to do the work they were tasked to do or that you weren’t organized enough before you left to leave the company in good standing for the few days you would be gone. Such a message erodes confidence and likability within the team, diminishing loyalty and engagement.

Vacation time is the #2 reason employees choose a new company.

Employees working in a vacation unsupportive culture are less likely to say they are valued by their company and cared about as an individual. They are more likely to look for another job. Four in ten employees who work in unsupportive cultures are looking or planning to look for a new job in the near future, nearly double the rate of their counterparts employed in cultures supporting unplugged vacation time. Ultimately employees who feel valued motivated and committed in a supportive culture are more likely to be an engaged workforce.

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Negatives of keeping your cell phone too close:

  • The decrease in mental capacity realized by those who keep their cell phone on them or in view is on par with that felt from lack of sleep.

  • Resisting the urge to attend to our phones can actually place a drain on our available cognitive capabilities.

  • Those who note a strong tie to their phones are more likely to experience a higher drain on cognitive capabilities in relation to the strength of that tie.

  • Concern or fear of missing a text or call can distract and decrease the enjoyment of things like movies, time with friends, etc.

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Rod Brace, Ph.D.

Managing Partner

Rod Brace, Ph.D. is the managing partner for Relia Healthcare Advisors specializing in culture assessment, operational excellence and leadership development in High-Reliability Organizations.  He is a faculty member at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the ACHE.

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