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Monday, June 14, 2010

Taking Time for Yourself - Being a Better Leader

I just got back from an amazing trip taking a tour around the ring road in Iceland, it was an incredible time of exploring landscapes that you just can't see anywhere else in the world.  Not only was this an experience of a lifetime but it was amazing how you reset during a trip like this.  It isn't about getting away from the "job" but moving into an environment where you are free from the day to day grind, as you know, many people say their best thoughts and solutions to those impossible problems are found when away from the office - now imagine an extended period of this free thinking and exploration.   You come back not only completely refreshed but with different perspectives and with potential solutions / ideas to drive the business.

In a past role I was told by a senior executive that you shouldn't be taking vacations or time off if you want to get  ahead.  To be successful you needed to be in the office and visible for 52 weeks of the year.  To me this is wrong for a couple of key reasons:

  • If your team, group, company can't survive for a short period of time without your input then you have failed as a leader either through building out your talent or paralyzing the organization with micro management.  The true measurement of you as a team builder and leader should be that the business continues to run and when you get back it should be as simple as here are the updates and what we did vs here are x number of decisions that need to be made
  • This isn't a case of live to work vs work to live.  To be a complete person you need to experience more than your day to day job and those eureka moments will come faster and more often when you have a balanced environment and experiences. 
I'm not suggesting that you need to go adventuring off to far off lands for weeks at a time but you will be a more complete leader and provide more value for your business if you take time for yourself to reset.  If you want to see what Iceland was to me check out