Human Capital Management
Take a Break, for Goodness’ Sake
Take a Break, for Goodness’ Sake
As we approach the upcoming 4th of July holiday in the U.S., it’s a reminder of the importance of rest and the need for time away from work that we need as business leaders. If you’re like me, you have “successfully” (cynical tone) blended work and life together and are probably checking emails while waiting for your dinner at the table, at a stop light or, dare I say, when your son or daughter are tuning up their musical instrument at their end-of-school-year band concert! You may have even gone so far as taking client calls when on the ski slopes or in a kayak on the intracoastal waterway (not that I’ve ever done that – wink-wink). Yup, you might say that we have perfected the art of totally dismantling the notion of work-life balance and have crossed over to “always on time.”
Countless studies from health and wellness experts to sleep therapists and productivity analysts all have warned us about the “always on” culture we have adopted, particularly in the U.S. Our go-go culture only fans the flames and drives us to follow as others are doing the same thing. As leaders, we are expected to be present and available to our teams, our clients and to tend to the business at a moment’s notice. As an aside, my friend, a telecommunications executive, was describing for me the other day a standing customer call that he has to take every Friday afternoon that starts at 6:00pm. The customer has come to expect this dedicated time and uses it (get ready for this) as a brainstorming session! Now, my reaction was like…are you kidding me?! You can’t really expect the best thinking to happen on a Friday at 6:00pm, do you? I asked him if he has challenged this customer to consider alternatives and even to help them understand that they probably could get even more out of the meeting if they met at a different time. My friend explained the importance of this customer and has come to accept this as something that comes with the territory.
Anyway, this is kind of my point. As leaders, we have to be mindful of the activity and tendencies of our team but also keep in tune with our own needs to avoid classic burnout. With the economy continuing to hum along and change a constant in all our business lives, if we don’t begin to set new boundaries, we run the risk of doing serious damage to ourselves. So let’s just start with taking some time off next week and turning off the cell phone and enjoying the moment. The 4th of July holiday provides us a perfect opportunity and may allow you to become more aware of how seriously fried you may have become balancing multiple demands and everything life is throwing at you. You may also discover how grateful your team is to you for allowing them the time to relax and not have to worry what the boss may be doing. Give them a break and allow them the chance to put away their phones and break the habit of checking emails at the family cook-out!
Take the time away and refresh, renew and reflect. These moments are necessary to be our very best and also help us to perhaps reframe challenges or problems we’ve been working on in a new and more creative way.
You can’t be an effective leader unless you have the mental, physical and emotional balance necessary to help guide your people through the myriad of issues we all deal with on a daily basis.
Enjoy your 4th of July. I know I will be taking a dose of my own medicine and doing my utmost to enjoy the moment.