Adopting a JOMO attitude can help you become a better manager and leader. Learn skills on adopting a JOMO attitude today!
I am always looking for new ways to describe my leadership or supervision style – and its limitations. Last night, while talking with some friends, we ended up talking about amazing managers we’ve had. One of my friends talked about how his manager has no expectation to receive a call or text for every small thing that happens. She doesn’t want late-night texts. She won’t read emails after she leaves the office. And she doesn’t want to receive a call for permission to do things that are parts of people’s jobs . But she will respond in the morning when she gets to the office.
She framed it as the ‘joy of missing out.’
And I realized that this describes my expectations as a supervisor.
Embodying the JOMO Philosophy
FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is embodied by the fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing. That fear can lead someone to always want to be included, even when the inclusion is overwhelming or unnecessary. And the fear can lead to anxiety-related behaviors being part of the management process.
FOMO, usually described as a reaction to social media influences on our lives, can also describe manager behaviors exhibited around their staff. For instance, do you want inclusion in a text/email chain? Or do you want to receive updates on regular or routine work? Want to be invited or included in planning for events you have no interest or intention to attend. All this just so you can check it off your list of pre-event planning?
The anxiety caused by FOMO can create micro-managers “who need to be in every single meeting, to be forwarded or CC’d on every email, to be part of every project. These behaviors are somewhat normalized because managers are assumed to be those individuals who should know everything that’s going on in a team. Yet some managers take it to an extreme by needing to know every. Little. Thing. That goes on.”
In this way, FOMO from a manager is exhibiting a big red flag: a lack of trust.
Adopting a JOMO Attitude
One way to combat this behavior is to adopt a JOMO attitude. Build enough trust that, as a manager, you trust your staff to make good choices and to include you when it matters the most.
Dr. Kristen Fuller describes JOMO as “the emotionally intelligent antidote to FOMO and is essentially about being present and being content with where you are at in life. You do not need to compare your life to others but instead, practice tuning out the background noise of the “shoulds” and “wants” and learn to let go of worrying whether you are doing something wrong.”
One way, as a manager, to adopt a JOMO attitude is to evaluate the ways you exhibit trust among your staff. What information do you want versus what you should know? Does your staff need to check in with you to do their routine work, just so you can make sure it’s being done? Do you trust your staff to make good choices when you are away on vacation or out of the office? Should they respond to after-hours communications like texts or phone calls?
In other words: how will your staff know you trust them to do their jobs when you are re-centered away from their work?
Putting JOMO into Action
I believe the cornerstone of JOMO starts with building trust among staff through intentional communication. Carlos Lozano, in FOMO in the Workplace, believes managers can adapt efforts “such as limiting team emails and communications, instead of inundating inboxes and overwhelming employees. This could drive employees to pay more attention to the messaging. No one wants to be left out of the loop, and if there are fewer opportunities to be kept in the loop, employees will take advantage of them. This isn’t to say you should be neglecting your employees, but there will be a noticeable difference in the responses from your employees if this strategy is performed correctly.”
Anne-Laure Le Cunff, in From FOMO to JOMO: the joy of missing out, describes how people moving from FOMO to JOMO need to reconnect with their sense of purpose: “Both with yourself and with the people you care about. Make your time your priority. Schedule the things that matter to you the most so you can make sure they happen, whatever the external commitments you may have. Spending time in a meaningful way will help you stop worrying about how others spend their time.”
Both of these examples share something in common: valuing time, effort, and energy — or commitment — differently. When we replace our sense of commitment from check-box management to trusting the process (even if it leads to mistakes or failure) we build trust among the people we work with. It then becomes a joy to be left out of the loop, as necessary. And when it is necessary, we are more likely to pay attention to the messages.
My Hope in the Near Future
I recently applied and interviewed for a manager position, which includes supervising two to three staff members. I wish I knew the name of the JOMO concept when I talked to these staff members. But if offered the job I will bring it up to them.
And I look forward to missing out, on purpose, on some of the day-to-day check-ins and permission-giving that they were likely expecting from me as a manager. And I hope you begin to revel in the joy of missing out within your work-life too!