If you’re serious about keeping your business human in the face of social media, you need to set expectations.
Not just for yourself – but also for your clients, employees, and employers. Everyone functions better with expectations set.
Your clients need to know when you’re available – and when you’re not. This one’s easy; hours of operation are almost universally respected. Put them on your website, your Facebook page, your Twitter profile – anywhere they might be helpful.
Your employers need to know that when you’re at work, you’re at work. No personal Facebook or Twitter time, unless your personal brand is part of your job description. Your boss has a reasonable expectation that you’ll be mentally and emotionally invested wherever you’re physically located. Conversely, if you workshift, you need to keep your employer apprised of things that limit your working hours. Just because you’re on your computer doesn’t mean you’re working, ready to work, capable of working,or willing to work.
Where this gets complicated is as a leader.
Leadership – yes, you, you’re a leader somewhere – needs to be responsive to the needs of client and employee alike. Leaders need to know when their people can work, and when they cannot. We get that, right? But what about the subtle problems of being a leader who perhaps works more than their troops?
Leadership needs to not set the bar at 2am email flurries.
Leadership needs to not set the bar at retroactive enforcement.
Leadership needs to live by the same rules of engagement that everyone else does.
Even if you tell your people you don’t expect them to work as hard as you do, they’re going to try. They’re going to feel like they’re inadequate sometimes when they can’t spend sixteen hours on a project in one sitting.
Until they understand that their work habits are theirs, and your work habits are yours, your excellence has the hidden opportunity to make people feel like they are less.
And that’s a bad situation to be in. So, please, ask for an end of day response with that 2am email. Tell your people to go home on the weekends. If there’s a shower in your office, turn off the water on holidays. Convince your people that you expect them to take care of themselves.
Or not. Maybe your people work harder than you do. Do they? You’re so lucky. Oh man are you ever.
Unless they worry that they’re working harder than you, and you’re slacking off like a boss. That’s not a good place to be in. Do something about that.
Being awesome has a lot of requirements. One of them is making sure people know when and how they can be awesome too.
Let’s all be awesome together. Who’s with me?