According to the findings of a new study, on days when leaders and managers were better able to reconnect to work in the morning, they reported having higher positive emotions and increased job attention, which enabled them to be more successful throughout the day.
The study’s findings were published in the journal ‘Journal of Vocational Behavior.’ Getting into the appropriate mentality for work can help set the tone for the remainder of the day – and it’s a particularly useful practise for managers, the Portland State University study discovered.
Mentally reconnecting with work – considering what you want to accomplish that day, what’s on your daily plan, and what scenarios you might meet – better prepares an employee to be engaged throughout the workday.
The study discovered that on days when leaders and managers were better able to reconnect to work in the morning, they reported higher positive emotions and increased job attention, which resulted in increased productivity throughout the day.
Reattachment to work can occur while still at home (when contemplating the forthcoming day over breakfast), during the commute (while anticipating activities at work that day), or upon arrival at work (while mentally running over the day’s to-do list after parking).
For individuals who work from home, the time saved by not having to commute can be used to sit in front of the computer and mentally prepare for work before opening an email or signing into a Zoom meeting.
Charlotte Fritz, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of industrial-organizational psychology at PSU, previously discovered that employees who mentally reconnect with work in the morning are more engaged at work. However, she noted that this study’s focus on leaders is critical because they are also accountable for their employees’ work and engagement.
This study discovered that managers who effectively reconnected to work at the start of the day were more capable of completing their own job duties, were more energised throughout the workday, and engaged in more transformational leadership behaviours.
“These leadership characteristics are critical for a number of employee outcomes,” Fritz explained.
“Giving a vision, inspiring and encouraging people, actively listening to and supporting employee needs, as well as providing possibilities for growth,” Fritz noted.
Over 400 leaders completed daily surveys during the workweek, and Fritz found that their levels of vitality, goal achievement, and good leadership varied according to how they psychologically linked with work in the morning.
“On days when leaders act in this manner, they will perform better at work,” Fritz explained.
Fritz collaborated on the paper with Dana Auten, a 2020 PhD graduate who is now a senior people scientist at The Predictive Index, and David Caughlin, a senior teacher of management in PSU’s School of Business.
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