Being hard working, putting in the long hours and being highly in demand are badges of honor in our culture.   It is rightly described as heroic.  When there is a clear goal, a ticking clock, and limited resources it is time for the team to pull together and get the job done.  This means setting aside personal needs for the good of the company, project or cause.

The key is to balance this with times of regrouping, accepting the rewards for your hard work, and maintaining the equipment for the next battle.  Check in with your personal life and make sure everything is in good shape.

You’d think that was pretty much a recipe for success.  But sometimes getting the job done requires moodling, play time, and some self care.  It wouldn’t be classified as hard working.  Creativity, relationship building, and engagement all require this kind of time use.  You cannot put the creation of two good ideas by Friday on your to-do list, for example.  The muse may not show up.  You can’t dictate close bonds between co-workers, although I guess some have tried.

This is one of the major reasons why women are choosing to leave the corporate fast track when they have the financial ability.  Working hard and climbing to the top is not enough incentive to stay.  They want to feel their work is meaningful, that the values of the office suit their own sensibilities, and that they have a sense of belonging and engagement.  The highly competitive, aggressive and goal fixating norm of business does not produce everyone’s best work. 

The question is, how does a leader deal with the varying needs of employees?

Fairness is a concept of the fear-based world where everyone is to be treated equally in the name of fairness.  In a passion-based world, leaders want each person to realize their greatest potential and recognize that that will require different treatment for different people.  Or different treatment at different times.

The key is to be transparent and make sure people are inspired by the journey they are on.  Heroes need challenges and ticking clocks while Virgins need gifts that inspire their creativity and a safe and appreciative place in which to work.