Did you know that sleep deprivation has a major impact on the way managers and directors manage their teams? Rest regulates many hormonal processes in our body and therefore also the release of cortisol (stress hormone) or serotonin (happiness hormone). Our management skills and decision-making processes - not only at work - depend on complex internal mechanisms, which are largely dependent on a good or bad night's sleep.
How do managers sleep?
According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, it appears that as many as 43% of executives suffer from sleep deprivation at least 4 days a week. These people have an average sleep duration of 4 to 5 hours per night. The negative effects are countless: Mood swings, migraines, stomach and intestinal problems, lack of focus, low libido, worsening of your eyesight or weight gain. If you'd rather avoid these consequences, make sure you're getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night! Sleeping in on the weekend can of course help, but this is only a short-term solution. In the long run, an irregular sleeping pattern will cause you more trouble than good. For example, your biological clock will be disturbed, so that your body is constantly in standby mode. If we want to fully understand how sleep deprivation affects your leadership skills, we will have to delve into neuropsychology. Our cognitive skills, such as planning, solving problems or coming to a conclusion are determined by the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The well-being of this prefrontal cortex determines how you as a leader deal with everyday obstacles at work. If sleep deprivation affects the functioning of your prefrontal cortex, then you will have to deal with these problems. Other parts of your brain can handle low energy better. The prefrontal cortex, on the other hand, needs adequate rest to function properly.
The secret behind success
McKinsey Global Institute identified 4 different types of behavior that are associated with high quality leadership, enabling leaders to succeed at work and in life. These are:
- the ability to solve problems
- the ability to see situations and things from different perspectives
- the ability to support others
- be result oriented
You have to keep in mind that the lack of an adequate dose of sleep affects all these areas.
The ability to solve problems is one of the most important characteristics of a team leader. This ability decreases with fatigue! It turns out that a short power nap during the afternoon can improve this result by as much as half. In addition, a tired body and brain affect the way you react emotionally. Reactions become more emotional, which can certainly not be conducive to success in the workplace. In addition, it appears that when we are exhausted, we become less sensitive to other people's problems. Therefore, managers cannot fully empathize with the needs of their employees or team.
Another distinguishing feature that is important in senior management roles is the ability to see multidimensionally. This allows you to make better decisions and come up with new solutions faster. Can sleep deprivation also affect this process? Absolute! There is a saying that you should sleep on something before making a decision. In order to look at a matter clearly and objectively, good concentration is very important. After 17 hours without sleep, you lose focus. This to the same extent as after drinking alcohol. 20 hours without sleep results in a lack of concentration and focus which is equivalent to 0.1% alcohol in your blood.
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