The Glorification of Busy Glorification of Busy

We’re all busy.

There’s nothing wrong with hard work. To the contrary. Working hard can help us achieve at higher levels and deepen our impact.

Here’s the problem: glorifying busy. Using it as a tool to impress.

This viral Internet meme—“stop the glorification of busy”—has hit a nerve with people far and wide lately. Busy is the new sexy.

Busy is the new sexy.

For leaders, it rankles in two ways.

First, running us down. Life and work have their natural rhythms and occasional shocks. If we run all-out all the time, we have nothing left when a real sprint is needed. The wear and tear on our health and resilience can do great damage.

Second, the herd effect. This glorification disease is contagious, and it can run organizations down too. People vie to put in more and more face time at the office, more late-night emails, more crack-of-dawn conference calls, more red-eye flights, more working vacations.

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” -Henry David Thoreau

Are we interested in face time, or results? Inputs, or outputs?

Do we trust people to get the job done, even on a flexible schedule? Do we encourage their creativity and trust their judgment, or watch to make sure they are punching the clock?


Discussion Questions

  1. Do you try to impress people with how busy you are? Do you find yourself telling people all the things you are doing
  2. What is the cost of being busy all the time?
  3. Does your organizational culture “glorify busy”?
  4. How can you lead your team out of that trap?


Leadership Derailers Assessment

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Bob Vanourek and Gregg Vanourek are leadership practitioners, teachers, trainers, and award-winning authors. They are co-authors of Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations, a winner of the International Book Awards. Take their Leadership Derailers Assessment or sign up for their newsletter. If you found value in this, please forward it to a friend. Every little bit helps! Glorification of Busy