Under the Influence: Leadership Skills, Sleep, & Start-up Culture
Sleep like a boss
At Leesa, we’re proud of our start-up status, complete with the culture associated with industry-disrupting, tech-oriented companies. While we don’t have an table tennis table, we do have an energetic, spirited team, casual dress code, and fast-paced environment where job roles can shift quickly based on dynamic priorities.
The Harvard Business Review recently published a fascinating analysis on the relationship between sleep and leadership skills. The article’s authors, Nick van Dam and Els van der Helm, concluded that sleeping better can actually help you be a more effective leader. The article details what the authors consider four core leadership skills and how sleep affects each one. The core skills? Operating with a strong orientation to results, solving problems effectively, seeking out different perspectives, and supporting others. If business writing is your thing, the article is worth the read. But the authors’ point boils down to this: “leadership ability” is the business major’s way of saying “the ability to influence others.” Perhaps even more accurately, it means you’re able to inspire others to want to follow you.
Whether you work for a start-up or a more traditional company, being able to inspire confidence in others is almost endlessly valuable.
Because start-ups tend to have more flexible job roles than conventional, bulky and slower-moving organizations, team members often have the opportunity to lead projects and gain valuable leadership experience. Even if you don’t have leadership-level aspirations, you might find yourself guiding a project team or even switching roles midday from taking direction to giving it. This flexibility and swift pace allows start-ups to be agile and quickly address challenges with the resources we already have, instead of postponing until we have the time to hire someone new.
If you work for a start-up, you already understand that even if you’re not up for a promotion anytime soon, you might need to pull out those back-pocket leadership skills unexpectedly. But getting quality sleep – and the leadership abilities reinforced by high-caliber sleep – isn’t just essential to those of us who regularly wear jeans to work. No matter where you’re employed, if you’d like your career trajectory to be up, the ability to lead people is crucial. Whether you work for a start-up, a more traditional company, are self-employed, work for the government, or even if you’re unemployed, being able to inspire confidence in others is almost endlessly valuable.