Can You Be A Business Leader & NOT Be A ‘Morning Person’?

September 3, 2013

There has been a lot of research published about people’s work styles and personal likes and dislikes when it comes to working and waking hours. In a recent survey and paper from Dr Peter Jonason from the University of Sydney (who surveyed 263 students online), he discovered that a preference for staying up late or into the early hours has a direct link to anti-social behaviour and so-called Dark Triad traits. The Dark Triad traits consist of narcissistic and selfish actions, cunning or deceitful Machiavellian behaviour and psychopathic tendencies. Wow! I’m not sure about the accuracy of the research above and the fact the audience is all students, may have little bearing on business and leadership but I thought it was an interesting point on which to start.

In my opinion leaders MUST be ‘morning people’ primarily and not ‘night owls’, although a combination of both is allowable. Baroness Margaret Thatcher was well known for taking just three hours sleep per night!

How can a leader be inspiring if they roll into work at 10am, bleary eyed and demanding coffee? They can’t, no matter what they say their image is all wrong. I want to see a leader that looks like they mean business from the get go! I want to see the executive parking spaces full before the staff start to arrive. I want them to set an example of the most important work ethic there is; to be ready!

A great Zig Ziglar quote that I like goes as follows; “Getting in to work early shows a willingness to get the work done, staying late shows an inability to get the work done on time.”

As a leader we should be driven by our personal and business goals, surely these are all the motivation we need to be the first into work?

I hear some of you complaining? “I work harder and longer than my people, I just do it away from the office.” Now, there’s a thought, if you can work longer and harder away from the office, then surely your people can? If they do your organisation will be more productive, so why not let them? Here’s a simple truth, the homeworking ‘experiment’ has not worked for many businesses and many have recalled people back to the office. Two of the reasons are; lack of trust that the employee is actually working and ineffective communication due to less face to face meetings.

I’m sure I may get a reaction about this blog with many examples of great leaders that never rose before noon. Many employees think that it’s a perk of being the boss, not needing to be in to work on time. What an example is that to set?

I teach new employees that the ‘snooze button’ is their greatest enemy and the reason why most people are sacked from their jobs! For leaders it should be second nature to be early and immaculately turned out.

What example do you set?

Many thanks

Alan Mace

Training Consultant at MTD Training

(Image by Graur Codrin at

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