A Journey of Separation
by Nathan Jamail
Business leaders and employers have to be more aware than ever of how their employees balance work and personal demands. With smartphones, many people feel that they always on call for work. At the same time, many parents use smartphones during business hours to arrange attendance of their kids’ events. As a result, many people are doing two things at once, and doing neither very well. How many times have you seen parents whose attention is devoted to their smartphone while they were at lunch with their child? Or perhaps that is you? Your personal and professional lives will suffer when they overlap in this manner.
The real goal should be personal and professional separation. If an employee is having personal issues, such as marital problems or the loss of a loved one, it can be extremely distracting to say the least. Personal issues can cause them to be withdrawn and less effective, costing the employer and affecting other employees. On the other side of the coin, if a leader is having a tough time at work and brings their pain, stress and frustration home they may take it out on their family.
When an employee is at work, they need to be at work regardless of family dynamics or problems; they must learn to leave them at home. The one thing that can make a family problem even harder is for that employee to lose their job because their personal issues are affecting their performance.
When an employee is home with their family they need to be present. Leave your phone and your uniform or suit jacket at the door. Just like the company that pays that employee deserves that employee’s very best, their families deserve their very best too.
In many employers, leaders may not deal with a struggling employee appropriately, which may result in turnover. A strong leader must sit down with that employee—and with empathy—share with them the consequences of their behaviors if they don’t change. They can also explore options available to the employee if there are any. But the key is to deal with the issue directly. Some people may find this behavior harsh, but it is the exact opposite. A leader needs to help the employee so they can get better or give the employee time and space to go home and resolve their issues. To allow an employee to suffer and destroy their career is selfish. When people don’t have personal and professional separation then they feel overrun and ineffective in all things. This causes employee burnout and a difficult home life.
A leader must be clear in their expectations to their team. To be successful, a leader must have employees who are willing and able to succeed. This only happens when employees are at their best. Separating personal life and work does not eliminate the personal side of business; it actually strengthens it. The greatest achievement is when an employee is doing a job they love and have a family that loves them. The goal is not to sacrifice one for the other, rather is to be the best at both. The best way to do that is to separate them so neither is affected negatively by the other. Here are a few tips on ways to implement triggers for you to remember to be present:
- Never walk in the house on the phone.
- Change your clothes from work clothes to home clothes immediately upon arriving home so you feel the part.
- Make eye contact with those speaking with you, no matter if they are your co-worker, your boss, or your three-year old.
- Share the expectations with your company team and your family.
- Be aware of your state of mind and change it if necessary.
Final thought: Be happy no matter where you are in your journey. Happiness is not a destination it is a mindset and a journey, but a choice. Happy employees make great employees and happy people, make great people.
Nathan Jamail, president of the Jamail Development Group, and author of the best-selling Playbook Series, is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach. As a former Executive Director, life insurance sales professional and business owner of several small businesses, Nathan travels the country helping individuals and employers achieve maximum success. Nathan has worked with thousands of leaders in creating a coaching culture. Get your copy of Nathan Jamail’s most recent book released by Penguin Publishers, “The Leadership Playbook” at www.NathanJamail.com.