This post is part of the 📖 Nine Lies About Work series.
Today, I am reading the LIE #8: Work-life balance matters most chapter of book Nine Lies About Work written by Authors Marcus Buckingham & Ashley Goodall.
There are some big lies, distortions, faulty assumptions, wrong thinking that we encounter every time we show up for work. Nine lies, to be exact. They cause dysfunction and frustration, ultimately resulting in workplaces that are a pale shadow of what they could be.
By reading Nine Lies About Work, you can get past the lies and discover what’s real. These freethinking leaders recognize the power and beauty of our uniqueness. They know that emergent patterns are more valuable than received wisdom and that evidence is more powerful than dogma.
LIE #8: Work-life balance matters most
Work, our experience teaches us, is toil—a stressor, a drainer of our energy—and if we are not careful, it can lead to physical exhaustion, emotional emptiness, depression, and burnout.
It’s a transaction—we sell our time and our talent so that we can earn enough money to buy the things we love and to provide for those we love.
Indeed, the term we use for the money we earn in this transaction is compensation, the same word we use for what we get when we’re injured or wronged in the eyes of the law.
Work is even a distraction from work.
Good intentions aside, problems with all this begin with the concept of balance—and it’s a concept with a long history.
But does anyone, anywhere, man or woman, young or old, affluent or barely solvent, ever actually find balance in the real world? If any have, we haven’t met them yet. And this is why balance is more bane than benefit.
In practice, striving for it feels like triage, like trying to erect some barricade against the endless encroachments on our time and the relentless ratcheting of expectations to work more, all while worrying that someone else has figured out how to do this better than we have.
Obviously, triage can be necessary for life, but it surely is not enough—it keeps things at bay, but it takes us away from ourselves. And in the end, balance is an unachievable goal anyway because it asks us to aim for momentary stasis in an ever-changing world.
If balancing everything out isn’t the answer, then what is?
We need a new way of thinking. About work. About life.
That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we will continue to read the same chapter LIE #8: Work-life balance matters most and see why we need a new way of thinking about work, life and work-life balance.
- Work-life balance is an unachievable goal in an ever-changing world.
LIE #1: People care which company they work for
We, as team members, want our team leader to make us feel part of something bigger, that he/she shows us how what we are doing together is important and meaningful. You as a team leader make us feel that you can see us, and connect to us, and care about us, and challenge us in a way that recognizes who we are as individuals.
LIE #2: The Best Plan Wins
It’s far better to coordinate your team’s efforts in real-time, relying heavily on each unique team member’s informed, detailed intelligence. You’ll have to sit down and survey your team members and make your plan.
The more frequently and predictably you check in with your people or meet with your team—the more you offer your real-time attention to the reality of their work—the more performance and engagement you will get.
It’s not true that the best plan wins. The best intelligence indeed wins.
LIE #3: The best companies cascade goals
We should unlock information through intelligence systems and cascade meaning through our expressed values, rituals, and stories.
We should let our people know what’s going on in the world and which hill we’re trying to take, and then we should trust them to figure out how to contribute.
They will invariably make better and more authentic decisions than those derived from any planning system that cascades goals from on high.
LIE #4: The best people are well-rounded
Best people are not well-rounded. They are distinctive. Well-roundedness is a misguided and futile objective for individual people, but it’s an absolute necessity for teams.
The well-rounded high performer is a creature of the theory world. However, each high performer is unique and distinct in the real world and excels precisely because that person has understood their uniqueness and cultivated it intelligently.
Competencies like Customer focus, innovation, growth orientation, agility are values to be shared, and they are not abilities to be measured.
Shift your thinking to outcomes where you’re asking individual team members to deliver to better match their distinctive talents.
LIE #5: People need feedback
People don’t need feedback. They need attention and attention to what they do the best. And they become more engaged and therefore more productive when we give it to them.
In the real world, each person’s strengths are the greatest opportunity for learning and growth. Time and attention devoted to contributing to these strengths intelligently will yield exponential return now and in the future.
Get into the conscious habit of looking for what’s going well for each of your team members.
LIE #6: People can reliably rate other people
There’s no reliable way to measure competencies that team members are supposed to possess in the real world. Human beings can never be trained to rate other human beings reliably.
We need to ask thorny questions like, “Do you turn to this team member when you want extraordinary results?”, “Would you promote this person today if you could?”, “Do you choose to work with this team member as much as you possibly can?”, “Do you think this person has a performance problem that you need to address immediately?”
LIE #7: People have potential
It’s not true that people have potential. Instead, the truth is that people have momentum. Encourage team leaders to discuss careers with their people in terms of momentum—in terms of who each team member is and how fast each is moving through the world.
Author(s): Marcus Buckingham
Author(s): Ashley Goodall
Part 18 of 23 in the 📖 Nine Lies About Work book series.