Faced with vast responsibilities, leaders find themselves moving from one pressing situation to another. The demands of operating a successful business are enormous and the responsibilities that come with leading an organization can be overwhelming at times. Leading others can be exhausting particularly for a leader who connects from the heart.
This past weekend I embraced the opportunity to step away from the hectic pace of my world to detox from the constant demands of leading. Leading a few business ventures and the demands of full time employment takes its toll. The never ending amount of responsibilities, the constant ringing of phones, urgent emails to respond to and urgent project deadlines to face all take a toll on my mental, physical and emotional state. It is for this reason that taking regular breaks cannot be optional for leaders with demanding roles.
According to Bill Owens, “Leadership is an active role; “lead” is a verb. But the leader who tries to do it all is headed for burnout and in a powerful hurry.” While I agree with this statement, I also realize that there are leaders like me who don’t necessarily try to do it all but who run fast paced organizations or lead multiple businesses who face burn out if they do not plan down time.
Planning small breaks to help manage stress and refueling is paramount to ensuring the leader remains clear in his or her purpose and direction. It’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day running of an organization and lose sight of the bigger picture. Taking some time away from the business can help the leader to relax, refocus and gain clarity of vision and purpose.
Leaders that build strong teams are able to comfortably take breaks away from their organizations with the knowledge that their businesses will operate like well-oiled machines in their absence. Leaders who micromanage every aspect of their business find it more difficult to schedule breaks away. Here are some recommendations to suit both leadership styles.
- Schedule a day a month when you can go to the office for half a day. Use the remaining half day to unwind and relax.
- Practice meditating.
- Find a relaxing hobby or sport that you can indulge in your free time
- Take a mini vacation to a serene and relaxing location perhaps over the 2 day weekend. Disconnect from your electronics and enjoy the peacefulness around you.
- At least once a year, take a week’s vacation to allow yourself some downtime to reenergize and replenish.
Leaders who give of themselves in time, energy and through connection should ensure they take care of themselves. It’s the only way to be sure they are able to continue being servant leaders. As a servant leader, you give of yourself selflessly to others and this requires you to be responsible and take care of yourself. As you plan every aspect of your business calendar, be sure to plan in regular breaks to relax and unwind.
Tip of the week: A leader who takes the time to take care of him or herself is ensuring that he or she is able to take care of his or her business & team members. Don’t run on fumes – replenish yourself.