This week, while scrolling Instagram, a quote from Adam Grant stopped me in my tracks:
Bad bosses mistake visibility for value. They reward face time over impact.
Good bosses know reputation isn’t a proxy for results. They reward performance over presence.
Great bosses know quality work depends of quality of life. They offer flexibility as a right, not a reward.
Wow. Yes. All of that.
Our team is unique. As we’ve shared before, we work entirely asynchronously and have structured our whole company to accommodate extremely flexible schedules.
We know you probably don’t have quite that same level of freedom.
But here’s the deal:
You deserve a schedule that works for your life, not a life that constantly bends to the will of your work schedule.
This gets complicated for nonprofit leaders because we love what we do. We’re making lives better. We’re having an impact. We’re changing the world. So we should bend over backwards to accommodate our work. We should respond at all hours. We should be available. Right?
I lived in this posture for years—and all I got was exhaustion, frustration, and a severe case of workaholism. Turns out it’s healthy to pause. Turns out people respect you more when you set boundaries. And turns out you really do need a life outside of work—even when that work is good and meaningful and beloved.
So the question is how?
How do you set boundaries for yourself?
And, if you’re a leader, how do you cultivate a culture of trust and freedom for your team? How do you become one of Adam Grant’s “great bosses” who offers flexibility as a right, not a reward?
Our team is still learning. And I am definitely still learning. But here are a few questions to get you started:
- Can you cancel any meetings? Step one to a more open schedule is removing things that are wasting your time.
- What is important to you that is currently getting back-burnered? It could be a relationship, a hobby, more hands-on parenting, exercise, reading for fun, investing in your own education…whatever!
- Can you put these things on your calendar? Literally treat them like an appointment and block the time.
- As a leader, what if you trusted your team (and yourself) to do their jobs and didn’t worry so much about the hours they spent in the office (or on Zoom)?
- As a leader, do you know what your team loves? Do you know what their non-work-related goals or priorities are?
- As a leader, what could you do today to give your team more flexibility, ownership, and autonomy? (Did you know that higher levels of autonomy tend to result in higher levels of work satisfaction?)
Your work is awesome. But think how much more awesome it would be if you got to do it on your own terms.