In the last year and a half, many of us went from having long commutes to simply walking down the hall to our new home office. We’ve saving gas, money and hours in “wasted” time—but what are we losing?
Our commutes were part of our daily ritual, note James R. Bailey, a professor of leadership at George Washington University, and Andy Cohen, a managing partner of August Max Leadership Partners, in a recent Harvard Business Review article. Commutes provided structure and gave us a pattern of daily behaviors to follow. We knew what to expect and how to prepare. We got up at the same time every day and did our morning routine: showered and got dressed for work; ate breakfast and drank coffee or tea; maybe helped the kids get ready for school or took the dog for a walk around the block. During the commute, we listened to podcasts or audiobooks, checked social media, read a few chapters of a book, took a nap, etc. Whatever helped us get into the mindset for our workday. And then we’d go through a similar ritual as we made our way home.
Our commutes helped us set boundaries between our work and home lives. They helped us leave our work behind and focus on family, friends and even ourselves. The morning commute gave us time to prepare for meetings, collect our thoughts, review documents, think about our to-do lists. The evening commute allowed us to reflect on the day, destress and sometimes recharge.
Let’s try bringing the commute back. Put 15-30 minutes on your calendar at the start and end of your workday to make a mental and emotional journey from home to work and back again. Your “commute” could be as simple as meditating in an unoccupied room or taking a short walk around the block before your first meeting. But it should be something you can do on a daily basis—make it a ritual.
Source: “That ‘Dreaded’ Commute Is Actually Good for Your Health,” Harvard Business Review, May 20, 2021
Find your personal leadership brand.
Build trust with your team by being predictable and reliable as a leader. Be clear about your leadership style—your personal leadership brand—so your team knows what behaviors they can expect from you in a given situation.
To define your leadership brand, ask yourself:
- What are the three values that are most important to you as a leader and a colleague—that is, the consistent behaviors that everyone can rely on from you?
- How have you lived those values in your career?
- Why are they important to you for driving success?
- If you were recruiting someone to join your team, what would you say to them about your leadership approach and philosophy?
As you answer these questions, give yourself plenty of time for introspection.
Source: “What is your personal leadership brand?” strategy+business, July 14, 2021