She was the sixth executive assistant to leave in the past year, and her boss—my coaching client—had no clue why he was losing so many employees. He kept telling me what a great leader he was. But as you’ve likely heard me say before, people don’t leave jobs, they leave leaders. To get to the bottom of the situation, I got permission from my client to talk with the six assistants who had left him.
They didn’t need much encouragement—they were all eager to speak. And each of them cited the same issue: getting work texts on the weekend. Not just as an occasional thing in the face of a crisis or deadline, but constantly, as an extension of the work week.
They all had similar responses:
“If my boss is texting me, I need to reply immediately.”
“If my boss is texting me, it makes me nervous and puts me on edge.”
“If my boss is texting me, I feel I have to get the task done right away, because it must be important.”
Before sharing the news with my client, I offered his former employees some coaching in case the situation came up again. Here are the strategies I shared them for dealing with a text-happy boss:
Communicate up front. When you get hired, tell your boss, “I am available while at work, but once I am home, I value my time with my family, so unless it’s an emergency please don’t text me on weekends.”
State expectations. As another approach, you can say “If you have a need to text me on the weekends, know that I probably won’t be able to respond right away, because the weekend is my time to regroup and reset.”
Reinforce the message. If your boss doesn’t get the message and persists in texting you on the weekend, remind them of your policy with your actions—in other words, don’t answer until you’re back in the office on Monday.
Manage the context. If the texts persist, respond with a simple message: “I will get to this on Monday.” Unless it’s an emergency, treat it as an opportunity to learn about managing relationships and maintaining boundaries.
Train your boss. Work with your boss to establish such great communication during the week that they don’t feel the need to try to reach you on the weekends.
Lead from within: Any boss will want to get the most of their employees. It’s the employees who need to draw appropriate boundaries and speak up when it’s too much.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.