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Practicing Leadership – By Taking a Break

leadership vacation Jul 17, 2019

Being overworked doesn’t make you the hardest working person in your office.

Exhaustion and stress reduce your effectiveness at work. The resulting “busyness” is just that.

Sometimes you need a break.

Studies have shown even short vacations improve your health, focus, sleep and reaction time. In other words, a vacation from work helps you be a better leader.

In fact, Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais forced starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to take a short vacation from work at the beginning of the month. Kikuchi has a tendency to throw a lot between starts. When his extra work started to produce diminishing returns, Servias created a schedule that didn’t allow him to throw for two days. When Kikuchi return to his throwing program, the difference was noticeable. There was more life on the ball and a different energy around the pitcher. Taking a break increased his results.

Don’t confuse productivity for busyness and don’t think you can hard work your way through everything.

This is What Leadership Looks Like…

1. Take a break. Don’t be the guy or gal who takes pride in being the only one who doesn’t take vacation and who takes great pride in saying “you’re the hardest working person in the building.” Taking a break is good for you. It helps you stay productive, operating at a high level and makes you more pleasant to be around (for your colleague’s sake!) If vacation time isn’t an option then find ways to create more “white space” or unscheduled time in your day.

2. Start a new habit. If there are few people in the office demanding your attention or giving you new projects, take advantage of more white space in your schedule and start a new habit. Maybe it’s a new morning routine, or clearing out your inbox before you leave the office, or going for a walk at lunch. Whatever it is that you’ve been meaning to do when you had more time, now is the time!

3. Improve your colleague’s attention span. Summer weather and summer vacations can cause even the most disciplined go-getters to act like fidgety school kids before recess. Make it easier for them to focus by adapting your communication style.Picking one topic, using touchpoint conversations and providing just one option helps keep people focused on the task at hand.

Practicing Leadership with a Sports Twist

Perform where your feet are.

That’s what Mariners All Star Daniel Vogelbach said his goal was this year. It didn’t matter what the opportunity was, he was going to make the most of it. This is after a year in which he bounced between AAA and the big leagues five times. Not exactly an ideal situation. But living in the past or thinking too far into the future doesn’t lead to more opportunities. Being in the moment and performing right where you are does. Just ask Vogelbach who’s enjoying a breakout season and his first All-Star selection as a rookie.

Leaders understand the importance of this approach. All the little things you’re doing right now even during a summer slowdown (if you have one this time of year) gives you a chance to perform where your feet are.

The Leadership Lesson 

Leaders don’t need a BIG opportunity to shine bright. They make the most of what’s happening right now. 

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