The Flexible Mix and the Golden Rule Fallacy
Are You An Integrator, Separator or Both?
A recent Wall Street Journal article looked at different ways people approach work-life balance. The article referenced work by Purdue University Management professor Ellen Ernst Kossek, who identified three different styles the Integrator, Separator and Cycler.
The “Integrator” is comfortable blurring the lines between work and home. They shift back and forth throughout the day. They don’t mind late night or weekend emails, or calls at off hours if it means they can be flexible about how they use their time.
The “Separator” prefers well-defined lines between work and personal life. Shifting back and forth is harder for them to manage and it saps their energy.
The “Cycler” switches between the two styles for a few days, weeks or months. Which are you? An Integrator, Separator or Cycler? And does your current position meet your unique work-life balance needs?
Managing Teams With Both Flexible & Traditional Work Days
As more companies offer flexible work arrangements, managing people whose work-life preferences differ requires leaders to look at the workday differently.
For instance, is the consecutive 8-hour workday still the measure by which all are judged? Or is completing tasks within a designated time frame and being reasonably accessible what really matters?
In a flexible work environment, keep your team intact through regular group meetings. Allow employees to attend in-person, or via phone or videoconferencing where you can provide updates, offer assistance, and share information about new assignments and company updates.
Use communication tools and procedures that meet the needs of your flexible and traditional staff. Make sure everyone is clear about your expectations, aligned around the goals and direction, and able to address issues in ways that keeps things moving forward.
The Golden Rule Fallacy (Your Employees Are Not You)
According to executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, leaders who believe their entire team will behave like them or enjoy what they enjoy are making a big mistake.
Marshall calls this the “Golden Rule Fallacy” where one assumes others want to be treated the same as them. He points to one successful CEO who had advance degrees, a high IQ and was a star college debater. He enjoyed debating and believed everyone else did, too. But instead of debates driving engagement and participation, it shut many people on his team down. They weren’t comfortable arguing their point with their boss, and they found his tendency to argue – even with himself — confusing.
Once the CEO understood how his team perceived his behavior, he did the necessary work to re-channel his debating urges. In time, listening more and challenging less resulted in him being seen as a better leader.