Why do some people perform better at work than others? This deceptively simple question continues to confound professionals in all sectors who want to advance and succeed in today’s ultra-competitive workplace. We often equate working longer hours with success, but the fact is that type of work leads to stress, burnout, and overall inferior work performance.
IABC Associate Editor Khyla Flores asked University of California, Berkeley, professor Morten Hansen, Ph.D., to discuss his new study of more than 5,000 managers and employees, which shows that top performers actually work less but do better work. Hansen argues that we have the wrong work paradigm, pushing people for more when really we need to retool our everyday efforts and work smarter.
In his book Great at Work: How top performers do less, work better, and achieve more, Hansen compiles the most actionable insights from his research into seven “smarter work practices” to show how we can work smarter instead of harder by selecting a few activities and applying intense, targeted effort. By improving on these seven practices, such as matching your passion and purpose, learning a little every day, and avoiding the pitfalls of uneven collaboration, Hansen demonstrates how individuals can boost their performance far more consistently and effectively than if they relied on talent, luck, or the sheer number of hours worked, and how managers can help inspire this approach in their teams.
Khyla Flores: Why do we often equate more hours worked with better performance and how is this detrimental to our productivity?
Morten Hansen: We have a false belief that piling on more hours of work leads to better output. In my data, more hours improve performance, but only up to a point....
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