Why Great Leaders Take Scheduled Vacation Time

In January, I took time for a full-day retreat. It was a time for me to get focused for the year. One of the first action items was to put vacation dates on my calendar. In 2013, I didn’t do this, and I felt it. I did get a little time off. But, as a business owner, it’s easy to fill the calendar with more work than rest.


I’m now entering into my second scheduled vacation time, so I thought I would share my thoughts about vacation as they relate to leadership.


Take It


My first thought is “Take It!” Our culture says work hard, work harder, and then work some more.


There is a great deal of pressure to perform. I get working hard. I fully embrace hard work… And then…

I embrace the leadership truth of renewal.


Steve Covey called it “Sharpen the Saw.” God even rested after creating the entire world. God doesn’t even need rest. We do! If we cannot lead ourselves in this area of life, how are we expected to lead others?


All In


I’ve coached hundreds of people over the last three years and I’ve heard this same story. After talking about what the person is going to do on vacation, I ask, “How are you going to handle email or phone calls while you are off?” The response is predictable, “I’ll check it a little bit…maybe an hour or so a day.”


I completely get this. I struggle with this one as well. The first answer should be, “Out of Office.” Repeat it with me…”Out of Office.”






The second answer is… ”Ask for Help.” If you absolutely cannot be away from the office you should ask someone to cover for you while you are gone.


In fact, this is a great opportunity for someone to step up to a new responsibility. In addition, this actually shows how well you are leading. If you can’t be All In, you don’t trust your people; which means you haven’t developed them to the point you’re not needed for a short time. You have to be “All In” with your time off.


Let Go!


I hope you are not starting to sing that song from Frozen…


My second thought is “Let Go!” I love my work. I realize many of you can’t say this, so this may not be as difficult for you. Because I get a ton of satisfaction from my work, it’s actually hard to stop thinking about it.


The best way to let something go is to fill the “space” with something else – hopefully something better. I plan to fill my space with my wife, kids, friends, family, music, running, fireworks, food, movies, and quiet time.


My last words are Take It All In and Let Go!


By the Way —as of now, My Out-of-Office light is on!