Ten Commandments for the Sleep Deprived Leader

Breath, Relax, Smile, Walk, Pray, Sleep

1.       Thou shall never make important decision while sleep deprived. Our creativity, adaptability, goal setting, and problem solving are adversely affected because of  insufficient sleep.

2.       Thou shall always speak slowly, softly, and clearly. Verbal fluency is adversely affected when we are sleepy. We tend to eat our words, rush our sentences, and confuse our colleagues. Take it easy. Slow down. Speak clearly.

3.       Thou shall not get upset when the whole world does not yield to you. Sleep-deprived people have this odd way of thinking. They truly believe that the sun rises and sets at their whim. They truly believe that employees will jump through hoops and bend over backwards, and they are quick to get angry when that does not happen. See what a lack of sleep can do to you?

4.       Thou shall stretch your body, gently massage your eyes, and take a timely power nap. If you find yourself falling asleep at your desk, take action. Stand up, stretch your body, and gently massage your eyes for a few seconds. Then sit back down in your chair, and take a quick nap. You will be surprised what only a few minutes can do for your body.

5.       Thou shall strive for excellence in everything you do. When sleep deprived, we have a  natural tendency to just finish the work and head home without thinking about the quality of our work. So remember, in order to become an effective leader, you must strive for excellence and lead well even when you are sleep deprived.

6.       Thou shall be nice to yourself, and reward yourself for excellent work. When sleep deprived, we have a tendency to be critical of ourselves. Fight that tendency and congratulate yourself for excelling despite sleep deprivation. Reward yourself with a glass of wine or a relaxing massage at the end of the day.


7.       Though shall postpone appropriate work for a well-rested you later on. A great leader will not try to make decisions when too sleepy to think clearly. Presidents, heads of corporations, nonprofit executives, and others all have a history of saying, “Let me sleep on this.” And guess what? It does work!

8.       Thou shall look for humor, smile often, and even laugh out loud, especially when things get worse. If things are getting out of control and not working out the way you need them to, start looking at the brighter side. Smile, and try to enjoy the moment.

9.       Thou shall always walk away from a complex problem, an argument, or a tough adversary. If you are too sleepy and find yourself in the middle of a complex problem that needs your immediate attention, find a way to walk away. There is no shame in saying that you need more time to make a crucial decision. A good leader knows the importance of walking away.

10.    Thou shall never eat a heavy meal when sleep-deprived. Have you ever been sleep deprived and then decided to eat a very heavy meal? Remember the outcome? It made your ability to make a sensible decision even worse, and, at the same time, it was damaging to your health. So, if you find yourself sleep deprived, instead of heading to the kitchen for a bite to eat, head to the nap room for some much-needed rest.

Happy Leading


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