“It is almost impossible when you’re in the box to think outside of it.” – Adam Garone
I firmly believe that, as a leader, you will never know how good your team is unless you take some time off and leave them alone. Now, I understand that there are times in every organization’s rhythm when you can’t take a vacation. If you are in the restaurant business, it’s hard to go away in December. If you are a teacher, you can’t take a vacation in September. But, for the purpose of this thought, assume we are in a slower time for your profession. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving for a week to go on vacation, then you have probably done a lousy job of trusting and training your team.
Think about it: What is going to happen to your business if you walk out of the door and get hit by the proverbial bus? Is your team going to wither? You might be tempted to think, “I wouldn’t care. I would be dead!” But do you really want all of your employees and their families to be evicted from their homes because of your apathy? As a leader, you should care.
Still, I always hear leaders say, “I can’t take a vacation, my people would steal me blind;” or, “No one can deal with my customers except for me.”
Dr. Stephen Covey tells the story of sharpening your saw in his book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” The metaphor he shares is this: A guy is sawing wood in the forest all day when another guy comes up to him and says, “You know, if you sharpen your saw, you would be able to saw a lot more wood and get done faster.” But the first guys replies that he does not have time to stop and sharpen his saw because he has so much wood to cut. Ironic isn’t it?
As leaders, we have to stop and sharpen our saw. We have to educate ourselves. We have to travel. We have to spend time with our families and refresh our souls. If you can’t take a week, take just four days over a long weekend.
When Faye and I built out my calendar for the year, the very first thing we did was schedule my family time. We scheduled those important personal days first, and then we looked at the rest of the calendar.
Leaders have to be intentional about getting away. Good leaders understand that the call to take care of their families, of themselves and their organizations, require them to be able to spend time away—for their own benefit and the benefit of their teams.
Question: When are you getting away this year to give yourself a break and give your team an opportunity to shine?