Sleep-awareness programs can produce better leaders
Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies,
Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
Therefore thou sleep’st so sound.
—William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
In the passage above, the playwright’s tragic antihero Brutus enviously reflects on the timeless truth that people without worries and anxieties (in this case, his servant Lucius) generally enjoy the most peaceful and uninterrupted rest.
Some senior business people skillfully and consciously manage their sleep, emerging refreshed and alert after crossing multiple time zones or working late into the night. Yet we all know caffeinated and careworn executives who, after hours of wakeful slumber, struggle to recall simple facts, seem disengaged and uninspired, lack patience with others, and can’t think through problems or reach clear-cut decisions.
Sleep (mis)management, at one level, is obviously an individual issue, part of a larger energy-management challenge that also includes other forms of mental relaxation, such as mindfulness and meditation, as well as nutrition and physical activity.
But in an increasingly hyperconnected world, in which many companies now expect their employees to be on call and to answer emails 24/7, this is also an important organizational topic that requires specific and urgent attention.
Source: McKinsey & Company www.mckinsey.com