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Want to Inspire Your Employees? Get Some Sleep.

Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
2 min read

If you're getting a business off the ground, you may think that pulling all-nighters or always being on call will inspire confidence in your employees, but that lack of sleep really just makes you less of a charismatic leader, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Led by Christopher M. Barnes, an assistant professor of management at the University of Washington, the team of researchers carried out two experiments to figure out the role sleep deprivation plays in a manager's ability to rally the troops.

Related: Arianna Huffington: 'Sleep Deprivation Is the New Smoking'

In the first experiment, 88 business students were asked to write a speech and deliver it like they would if giving a commencement address. Half of the participants had a full night of rest, while the other half was deprived of about two hours of sleep, and asked to fill out hourly surveys from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Each individual's speech was recorded and three of the lab’s research assistants acted as judges.

On the whole, the sleep-deprived group was rated as less charismatic than their well-rested peers. Additionally, the participants who were sleep deprived found it more difficult to maintain and project a positive and excited energy, according to the study.

Related: The Bedtime Routines of 4 Exceptionally Successful People

In the second experiment, 109 participants, also business students, were split in half, with one group getting uninterrupted sleep, and the other deprived of it. This time, the subjects were the ones who were watching the speeches, and asked to view three randomly assigned videos and then rate them on charisma. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the exhausted participants were less likely to find the speeches and the orators charismatic.

It may seem obvious, but it bears repeating: You can't motivate anyone -- and you won't find anything compelling -- if you burn the candle at both ends. Get some sleep. Your brain and your staff will thank you.

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