Do as I say, not as I do

Feb 25 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Thinking back to childhood, I would safely bet that most of us can recall a time when a frustrated parent told us to "do as I say, not as I do". If so, you'll appreciate the parallel between that memory and British managers.

You see, management types across Britain were second to no one when it came to stressing the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, they're the last ones to actually practice it.

Health provider Bupa Wellness recently surveyed 20,000 members of the British workforce as part of a total health assessment. According to the studies, managers were most often those who smoked, who were overweight, and who exercised too little. In fact, among senior level management, 1 in 10 admitted to smoking at the office (despite a national ban on smoking).

Now, why doesn't this surprise me?

What's surprising here is the lack of acknowledgement by managers of the effect of their lifestyle on their employees. Think about it for a moment, how likely are you to listen to your boss when he or she tells you that you should be more dedicated and work longer hours when they're the first one out the door at 5pm or mosey in around 10am?

Similarly, how can a manager be effective in stressing the importance of a healthy lifestyle when they seem to ignore their own advice?

I'd be curious to see interview or a study on the performance of people who work under such managers. What's more worrisome is who will police the managers if they're not capable of following their own directives?