WHY Fronts - Sleep

Published: 15 August 2017 Ezine

Author: Chris Woodgate, ISAS Officer

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.

William Shakespeare, Macbeth

A lot of research has been done recently as to the effects of lack of sleep, not a good thing apparently. 

When you are managing a service or discrete unit you can often take the cares and woes of this home to ‘dream’ about or toss and turn through the night as you wrestle with staffing, budget and the other concerns you have not counting the worries you already have at home. 

You may ask what has this got to do with quality assurance? Well, if you don’t sleep well you are not at your best, the ‘fun’ goes out of what you do, remember the days when you loved your job? 

The days when you sparked new ideas, you were ‘on top of your game?

A recent article in the Huffpost by Dr. Travis Bradberry, 26/6/17, states that sleep deprivation “is killing you and making you fat”. To be honest I am more worried about the weight gain implications. 

Seriously though, he also states that: ‘Skipping sleep impairs your brain function across the board. It slows your ability to process information and problem solve, kills your creativity, and catapults your stress levels and emotional reactivity.’ I would encourage you to have a look at the article.

How then can you as senior managers combat the stresses that often lead to sleepless nights? 

The Leadership and Management section of ISAS may be able to help. It covers recruitment and staffing as well as staff wellbeing and this does include you. 

Perhaps one way to look at this is to think about the team you have supporting you, do you have a  team which causes you problems or do you have a small team of likeminded others who are proactive and wanting to progress and learn? Why not ask yourself if you have:

  1. Team members with expertise you don’t have; that way you can let them worry about the modalities or other areas where you have never worked.
  2. Team members who are smarter than you; this can either be a threat or an asset. Do you have someone who can be either more analytical than you or who has a better emotional intelligence; I can think of some situations where I would have saved myself some sleepless nights by having support like that. It will only be a threat if you try and match their capabilities when you can’t or when you secure too tight a ‘lid’ on what they can achieve.  Remember ideas need to flourish, they may end up making you more efficient.
  3. Succession plans, do you know who could follow in your footsteps?  Hopefully you will be fortunate to have more than one candidate.  It can be incredibly reassuring to have someone who you can share the detail of your service with, knowing they will be able to take it forward if you choose to move to pastures new or retire. No one wants to see the demise of what they have invested in, I am sure like me you want to see your service go from strength to strength knowing it is building on a legacy you have left.

When you build your team empower them, allow them the resources and support they need and let them develop their own teams.

This will allow you to focus on strategic issues without having micro-manage and take on your shoulders all the cares of the service you have.  

By lifting your head up from the details and focusing on the bigger vision, you will be able to elevate your team and your service; and maybe give you a better night’s sleep. 

As Shakespeare wrote sleep – the chief nourisher in life’s feast – maybe you should allow yourself to let go and get some good sleep and reclaim the joy of living.