‘Reconnecting to work’ is the key to success as a manager, leader

PORTLAND, Ore. — Disconnecting from work after a long day is a common (and often recommended) way of relieving stress. Well it may be just as important, at least from a success standpoint, to properly reconnect come morning. Researchers from Portland State University find heading into work each day with the right mindset is key to having a productive day, especially for managers and workers in leadership roles.

What exactly does reconnecting to work mean?

Before beginning each new work day, take a moment and ask yourself: “What do I want to get done today?”

Similarly, remind yourself of the day’s agenda and consider any possible situations or problems you may encounter between then and the end of the day. Researchers say adopting this morning routine can help employees set the tone for the rest of their day and achieve greater work engagement.

In support of all this, the team discovered that on days managers were able to reconnect before starting work, they reported a better mood, improved focus, and more success throughout the day.

Even better, it doesn’t matter where or when you reconnect, as long as it’s before you get down to business. For example, during breakfast, while commuting to work, or even for a moment in the parking lot just before entering the office. Conversely, if you’re currently working from home, just take a few minutes to reflect on the day’s goals before logging on and checking your email.

Prior research conducted by the Portland team had already indicated that reconnecting to work before each day helps improve work engagement, but that project had focused on employees in general. This new study focused on leaders specifically, which is perhaps even more relevant, as study authors say office leaders are often responsible for their workers’ morale and focus.

Reconnecting gives the boss more energy

Diving into some more specifics, leaders who reconnected before starting work reported feeling more energized, engaging in more transformational leadership behaviors, and even finding their own daily tasks easier to accomplish.

“These leader behaviors are crucial for a variety of employee outcomes,” says lead study author Charlotte Fritz, an associate professor of industrial-organizational psychology at PSU, in a university release. “Providing a vision, being inspirational and motivating for employees, listening carefully and supporting employee needs and providing them with opportunities for growth.”

The team included over 400 leaders and managers in this research. Each person filled out daily surveys for a full week asking about morning work-reconnection habits, goal accomplishment, positive leadership outcomes, and vitality levels.

“On days when leaders do this, they’re going to do better at work,” Prof. Fritz concludes.

The study appears in the Journal of Vocational Behavior.