A lot of people trying to get ahead at work spend money and time trying to learn how to be better managers. Maybe one giant step they should take is get a better night’s sleep, and encourage their employees to do the same.
According to a Huffington Post story, a new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests that good sleep habits can also make an employee easier to lead — and a leader easier to follow. Leaders in the research conducted by the University of Washington were rated as less charismatic when they weren’t well-rested. But additionally, sleep-deprived employees were harder to inspire and less likely to view designated leaders as charismatic than well-rested individuals. In other words, not getting enough rest leaves everyone in a dysfunctional fog at work.
For the first part of the experiment, Barnes and his colleagues manipulated sleep for a group of 43 students by having the students wake up every hour between 10 p.m and 5 a.m. to complete a short survey. Another group of 45 students slept normally. That morning, all 88 participants went into the lab and were asked to deliver a mock a speech in a commencement ceremony. Everyone was given 15 minutes to prepare and was told the speech would be videotaped.
The researchers found that the students whose sleep had been disrupted the night before the speech were rated as less charismatic by an impartial panel of lab assistants who were unaware of the sleep conditions. On average, the sleep-deprived participants’ scores were 12 percent lower than the scores of the individuals who had slept normally.
Barnes said he is one of the first management professors to make sleep his area of primary interest — and this study is some of the first research to look at how sleep affects perceptions of leadership.
“There are a scary number of sleep-deprived employees doing important tasks — and as a field, [management research has] historically ignored the topic of sleep.”