This is How a Leader Takes a Vacation

Days, weeks, and months of leading a team can prove to be very exhausting.  People are always asking things of you and while you love to give, the cycle of take-take-take can leave your well running dry.


A vacation is a great way to break out of that cycle and refresh your attitude.  Think back to your last vacation.  Did you feel relaxed, joyful, fulfilled?  Did you gain a fresh perspective and perhaps return to work with an ignited flame of creativity?


Not only will you return from a vacation as a better version of yourself, relaxed and ready to reenergize your team, but your absence could also provide room for some serious growth.  Here’s how…


Organize and Tie Loose Ends

Have you ever left on a vacation with your house is disarray?  After days of relaxation you come home to a dizzying and depressing mess that literally pops your blissful bubble.  The same fundamentals apply to your work demands; the only way you can truly capitalize on the rejuvenating benefits of a vacation is if you prepare yourself for a clean and smooth return.


Accomplish this by tying up all loose ends.  Put in the extra time before your vacation to get ahead and push all formal follow-ups to a few days after your return.  Regardless of your vacation’s destination, plan for a return jet-lag day where you don’t necessarily have to dive into anything, instead you can lightly skim over the week ahead, acclimate yourself, and organize some more.  In short: work through your lunch breaks and put in the late nights pre-vacation, so that your Zen feelings can keep lasting upon your return to work.


Delegate Deadlines, Duties and Follow Ups

It is a good idea to formally notify your team of your planned time out-of the-office.  Reemphasize their duties on ongoing projects and understand that it’s OK for deadlines to take place while you are way.  It will be your team’s responsibility to follow-up with you however you see fit.  The whole point of a vacation is to take a break from work, so consider a suggestion as simple as a Friday follow-up email.  This way each team member can still feel accountable while giving you some quick updates on their progress.


If you want to savor your time away, then comfort yourself by appointing a person who can answer questions and make real-time decisions in your place.  Obviously pick a person who is trustworthy and, almost more important, pick someone who displays your similar style of leadership and execution.  Give this single person your emergency contact information (only after describing what truly constitutes as an emergency).


Believe In Your Team

One of the main hesitations for a leader to take a vacation is that he or she thinks the team cannot function without them being there.  (Guard your egos, management: this is not true.)  While your unique leadership style and encouraging attributes keep your team organized, it also can stifle them into some stiff routines.


Allow your team some space to breathe while you are way.  Let them know that you consider this time as a chance for people to test out their own styles while proving themselves.  When you return, discuss with your team the differences they experienced in your absence.  Perhaps the freedom allowed them to discover a more productive approach to work that is both functional and inspired.  You never know the new directions your employees can surprise you with; utilize your vacation as a canvas for them to both breathe and explore.


Regardless of your overall approach, it is important for every leader to protect their right to live.  Whether you are hoping to reconnect with your family, save yourself from burnout, or maybe even make some unique and friendly business connections, a vacation serves multiple needs.


Life is short and work is long.  Commit to refreshing yourself and your efforts every now and then with a vacation that you not only deserve- but you really need!  When done correctly it can reconnect you with your work and creativity, all while affording your team time and space for professional growth.


 What other tips can ensure that leaders will have a great vacation?

About the author: Kelly Gregorio writes about leadership trends and tips while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a merchant cash advance provider. You can read her daily business blog here.


Photo credit iStockphoto



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1 Comment

Cathy Shanes

Hardly any leader can allow oneself a vacation without thoughts about job. But I agree with the author on several points – we have to try to shut our minds to the thoughts about business, as it’ll freshen our views and help to bring new ideas, as well as our absence can teach our employees to work autonomously. As leaders to the core we should understand the importance of these reasons, accept them and try to maximize vacation time both for ourselves and our companies.


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