Tips for the Workaholic

Recently I came across a senior leader who I would best describe as a workaholic.

It’s that person who lives and dies for the work they do, sometimes compulsively at the expense of other pursuits.  This particular individual is an empty nester with two boys in college with more time to work longer days and weekends.

My hunch? Even when his kids were younger, I would imagine he still wasn’t quite sure how to turn down his achievement drive.

In this particular case, his work, for better or worse energizes him.  I asked him if he recognized the impact his approach to an endless day or week had on his team.

He gave me somewhat of a puzzled look and responded, "No not really.  I don’t expect them to work the hours I do."

While that may be the case, leaders who are challenged with being able to shut-off their work mode often send the wrong message to their employees.

If you are one of those leaders, here are a few tips you may want to consider so your team remains energized, motivated and not overwhelmed by your endless work pursuit.

Watch how many emails you send during off hours (e.g. weekends, late night, etc).  While you may not expect your employees to respond to you on a Sunday morning - dedicated, hardworking employees will feel compelled to do so.


  • Be self-aware and proud of your Workaholics Anonymous membership.  Be open and able to talk about your “workaholism.”  Make sure your employees understand your approach is not meant to be their approach and as long they get the job done, that’s what matters.
  • Be mindful of how much work you give your team.  It’s very easy to overestimate project delivery if your work hours far exceed those around you.
  • Remember vacation time is their time.  Limit communication with your employees during this time.  They will come back more focused and revived if they feel like they have truly stepped away.



- Tracy Brown -

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