Chillaxing is a new word combining chilling as in chill out and relaxing. It is being used in relation to leadership to describe someone who doesn’t let work issues worry them unduely and finds time to relax outside of work. This is someone who is comfortable in delegating, confident that those around them are competent and can be trusted to do a good job. Someone who doesn’t need to know the detail but trusts those around them to tell them what they need to know. Someone who can switch off from work perhaps with a computer game or by watching their favourite football team.

 Chillaxing is a leadership style in response to the demands of modern management and is particularly relevant to an era where organisations face tough financial challenges, painful management restructuring, redundancies and imposed changes to working conditions. The resulting Leaner organisations require managers to carry greater spans of responsibility, cover areas they have no professional background in and live with a greater degree of vulnerability. To survive in this environment mangers need to be able to delegate and they need to feel comfortable or “relaxed” about the budget, the performance statistics, the position in the league table, the likely outcome of an inspection, the low staff morale. Their confidence that any set back is only temporary and that the organisation continues to be on course is supposed to sustain those around them.

Unfortunately chillaxing is already getting a bad name in some quarters as some high profile leaders are  seem to place too much faith in the ability of those around them, appear increasingly detached from the experience of the majority and some of their staff enduring pay freezes and insecurity would prefer them to be less ”relaxed”.

It is all too easy for a “relaxed” attitude to come across as unconcerned even indifferent. Chillaxing in this sense can mean coolly indifferent in ones willingness to   axing services.

Blair McPherson author of People management in a harsh financial climate and UnLearning management both published by Russell House. Follow Blair on Twitter blairmcpherson1     

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