I love epiphanies, and I’ve had a few in recent weeks. Two of these were on the topic of holidays. The first, just over a week ago, I was floating in the warm water of the Caribbean Sea totally relaxed and experiencing the wonderful effects of a recharged and refreshed brain. The second was earlier this week when I found myself using the words a leader should never use “do as I say not as I do” when asking one of my team members not to take any work away on holiday with her.
To the 2nd epiphany first – as an employee I never really experienced the full value of my holidays. I realise now that I never really understood what it meant to completely switch off, disconnect from the grid and recharge my brain. I’ve always enjoyed holidays, I’ve always relished the time with my family and friends, enjoyed the rest and relaxation a holiday brings – but I used to be one of those employees who still took reading away with me, or logged into my email a couple of times a week or called my PA (until Rachel who wouldn’t take my calls) to check on how things were going. As an employee I took leave because it was an entitlement and it was important time to spend with my lovely children, but I didn’t take advantage of the huge opportunity a holiday presents simply because I didn’t understand the opportunity was there.
As a business owner the whole holiday dynamic is different, I blogged earlier in 2013 on how business owners never really take a holiday – and despite the tone of this post so far that is still my belief. As a business owner your business is like your baby, it needs nurturing and support so you never really stop thinking about it, the epiphany while floating in the Caribbean Sea was the realisation that my brain was in overdrive – after just a week of not working “in” the business, not thinking about the day-to-day activities, not worrying about staff or customers I found the old brain had completely recharged itself and the creative, innovative, vision for our business was flowing. I was naturally working “on” the business again with no mental obstacles.
I realise we can’t force our team to value their holidays, let their brains recharge through disconnecting from their daily jobs – but in this one instance I do think it was OK for me to use the “do as I say not as I do” line. Leadership is hard, but so is establishing your career and personal brand. Both take work and effort so it’s easy to see how a motivated career focused employee can fall into the trap of taking work on holiday in the hope it will help them get on top of the pile or ahead in the role. The real value of the holiday is a completely refreshed, reinvigorated career focused employee has the potential to achieve so so much more.
When I write a blog I go looking for similar articles on the topic – in part to validate my thinking – and in doing this today I read this lovely news article on leadership by example. It’s a feel good story about a CEO who gives up his seat in one of his airlines planes for a mother, flying standby, who desperately needed to get to her daughter on the last flight. I can’t help but wonder whether every member of the Delta team are equally empowered to do the same in similar circumstances? or am I just being cynical because of the topic of my blog?
Now for the bore you all with holiday photos bit 😉 Vic.