What’s the secret to growing a successful business?
If you’re like me, you’ve probably read countless articles touting the importance of “the hustle” and “the grind.” It’s the idea that you as a CEO should be working 80 hour weeks and pushing your employees to give more of their own time in the effort to build your brand.
But as a CEO myself, I’ve learned that all too often business owners can take the “hustle and grind” mentality too far. While you never want to let your million-dollar idea slip by, too much emphasis on hustling your way to the top could actually hurt your business in the long run. For CEOs who want lasting success, dialing back the hustle and grind mentality could make a crucial difference.
1) The dangers of burnout
Without a doubt, burnout is the biggest potential danger of taking a hustle and grind mentality to an extreme. A 2018 Gallup study found that “23 percent of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes.”
Pushing too hard can have significant consequences.
As the study’s authors noted, “Burned-out employees are 63 percent more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job. And even if they stay, they typically have 13 percent lower confidence in their performance and are half as likely to discuss how to approach performance goals with their manager.”
Similar consequences apply to you as a CEO. Pushing yourself too hard could compromise your physical health, leaving you unable to fulfill the responsibilities of leading your business. When you are mentally and physically exhausted, you won’t make as good of decisions and leave your brand vulnerable.
2) Delegation can be empowering
Though you should always be cautious of overwhelming your employees, delegation is a vital part of a successful business — in large part because it will empower them and help them feel more connected with your brand’s success.
As Mark Moses, CEO of CEO Coaching International, noted on Small Business Trends, “Micromanagers should never be CEOs of large or growing companies. This is because they are simply too complex to micromanage. Being involved at every level and not delegating to your team creates a bottleneck that essentially strangles an organization.”
Delegation allows you to turn vital tasks over to someone who specializes in a particular area, be it marketing or finances. In many cases, they can finish the job faster and more effectively than you could, ensuring far better results as they become personally invested in your company’s success.
3) Focus on quality, not quantity
A common pitfall of the hustle mentality is that CEOs can adopt the mindset that the more time they put in, they better results they will get. We assume that working more hours means we will be more productive.
Yet studies have found the exact opposite to be true. A study published by Stanford University found that “output falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours—so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours.”
As Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington post has written, “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”
Sacrificing sleep so you can “get ahead” on a project likely won’t help you finish faster. Instead, you will just get tired and put yourself at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and other serious health issues related to poor sleep.
By determining to put in a quality effort during the business hours available when you arrive at the office each day, you will be more productive and better able to resist the temptation to work later hours.
4) Preserve your personal life
Famed businessman and author Stephen R. Covey wrote, “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” While work-related activities can certainly be both urgent and important, there is no denying that dedicating 80+ hours each week to running your business will cause other important things in life to fall by the wayside.
As a parent, spouse or even just a friend, giving time to the personal relationships in your life will ensure you have much-needed support when things at work get rough. Unfortunately, 40 percent of those who have a poor work-life balance report that the time they spend with family is “ruined” due to work-related stress.
Quality time with friends and family, or even relaxing with a favorite hobby, are crucial for de-stressing so you can come back to work refreshed and re-energized.
Yes, running a successful business requires a lot of time and effort. You have to find ways to improve your own efficiency and that of your employees. But at the same time, you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. As you learn to find balance in your work life, you will be able to avoid burnout and create better working conditions for your entire team.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.
Published April 1, 2019 — 16:53 UTC