Your Personal OPTEMPO speaks volumes…whether you like it or not

Your personal Operations Tempo (OPTEMPO)- the hours that you keep at work, the time of day you send e-mails, the amount of leave you take…are being observed. The people you lead will hopefully be sitting in your seat one day, will your personal battle rhythm inspire them?

It can be tough to balance your day-to-day schedule when you have competing demands from external stakeholders (higher-level command, agency partners, other units, etc.). Your staff may not fully realize what’s on your plate, nor should they always have a need to know.  In other situations, you may not want to delegate the tasking because they have higher priorities on their plates. Whatever the case, when you’re putting in longer hours, taking additional meetings and more frequently unavailable for day-to-day operations, your team will start talking. Some members of your team will ask if they can be of assistance to you.  While others may feel compelled to match your hours so you view their work ethic in a positive light. 

I once heard a story about ADM Zunkuft who made it a point to leave the office no later than 1700 while he was Commandant and he wasn’t traveling outside of DC. He knew that if he stayed later, his staff would feel compelled to stay later. He made the conscious decision to take work home so his staff could get out of the office and spend time with their families at a reasonable hour. 

This story of emotional intelligence was inspiring. Leaders have a responsibility to grow other leaders and inspire them to continue serving. We are always competing against other military services, government agencies and the private sector to retain the best talent. It's the small things like demonstrating a healthy work-life balance which will convince people to stick around and sit in your seat one day.

  • What techniques do you use to ensure you demonstrate a healthy work-life balance to your team?
  • What steps do you take if you are ever out of balance?
  • Do you ever stop to reflect on how you can inspire the next generation to fill your shoes one day?


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    ryan gagajena

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