Are you a slave driver? a taskmaster?


I am a workaholic. When I'm not working, I'm thinking about work, compiling long "to do" lists, and feeling guilty. If I lay down to rest, I will often awake with a start, remembering something I haven't finished, then jump up to complete it.  The reason I am workaholic is because there is a "slave driver" inside my head, that tells me that no matter how hard I work, how well I do, no matter how much I try - it is never enough - never good enough; and as a result I am never good enough, never OK. 

Many Hong Kong people, like me, are workaholics - always striving to improve and be perfect, and because of the slave masters in our heads, we cannot just rest and enjoy life. We also cannot tolerate others who don't share our compulsive drivenness. We resent it when others rest, laugh, and enjoy life a bit - especially if it is on our time (during work hours).   If our staff takes a break during the workday to read their facebook, or Yahoo! news, we feel like they are cheating us. 

We often confuse being a slave driver or taskmaster with getting the most out of people. We think of people as sponges from whom we need to squeeze the last drop of water. In reality, the people who get the most out of  others are those who develop people, train people, encourage them and help them to reach their unique potential.  

Are you a slave driver, a taskmaster?  Here's a few questions to help you decide.

  1. Do you watch your helper on an IP cam and text her or call her with an assignment if she sits down for a few minutes? (Y/N)
  2. Does your helper work a total of more than 12 hours a day, not including rest times?  (Y/N)
  3. Does your helper's daily schedule include meal and break times?  * (Y/N)
  4. Does your helper have to hide in the bathroom to check her phone messages or email? (Y/N) 
  5. If you see your helper laughing and having fun with your children, do you feel resentful or give her another task to do? (Y/N) 
  6. Do you often interrupt your helper when she is working to give her another assigned task? (Y/N) 
  7. Does you helper have enough time to relax for 5-15 minutes after her meals, so she can read a book, an email, a text message, etc. ?* (Y/N)
  8. Does your helper have a regular coffee break?* (Y/N) 

For questions 1,2,4,5,6 - give yourself 1 point for each yes answer, 0 for each no answer.  On questions 3,7,8 give yourself 1 point for each "no" answer, and 0 for each "yes" answer.  If your total score is 5 or more, you might be a taskmaster, a slave driver. What can you do about it? Slow down - treat yourself to some down time. Relax, get a massage, buy a paper and a Starbuck's coffee and just sit for an hour. Re-align your own heart first. Stop being so hard on yourself - then begin to change the way you treat your employees. Lighten up.


Allan SmithComment