People who cheated in an experiment had slept an average of 22.39 minutes less the night before than non-cheaters, according to research led by Christopher M. Barnes of Virginia Tech. The study, in which cheaters over-reported their scores on a test in order to gain financial advantage, shows that low levels of sleep are associated with unethical behavior. Managers who demand results that require employees to stay up late and miss sleep may be increasing the likelihood that workers will fudge results and engage in other forms of cheating, the researchers suggest.
– From Harvard Business Review June 24, 2011
We all have experienced this. We have been working on this project for a while. The presentation is tomorrow. We feel that our case can be more compelling if we bend the truth a little. We convince ourselves saying that this is in the best interest of the company. What can one do to prevent such unethical behavior? Here are a few tips.
1. Promote sound sleep of sufficient duration in yourself and in your colleagues. Use these Twelve tips for Sound Sleep routinely.
2. Be cognizant of the untoward effect of insufficient sleep on ethical behavior and try to resist that temptation to bend the truth. Use LAMP (Leader’s Alertness Maximization Plan) to maximize alertness even when sleep deprived.
3. A prior study did show that leaders who were high on Emotional Intelligence were able to counteract this effect partially. Work on your Emotional Intelligence (intrapersonal management, interpersonal management, motivation, and social skills.)
4. Use these 4 tips, and cure procrastination. It is the procrastination that makes you stay up at night prior to the big meeting and then bend the truth, fudge the numbers, or distort the reality in the name of greater good. Avoid it. Worship truth and you will be amazed.
5. And lastly, my all-time favorite, develop a deep and unshakable faith in the Almighty that the truth shall always prevail.
Sleep Well, Lead Well