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Leadership Today - Practical Tips For Leaders

Aug 18, 2023


We all know holidays are important, but in our always-on work culture it can be hard to take a genuine break. There are some practical steps you can follow to ensure your holiday is a success for you and your colleagues.



Hello and welcome to episode 197 of the Leadership Today podcast where each week we share practical tips to improve your leadership. This week we look at how to take a holiday. Given our always-on work culture and the technology that allows us to work anywhere, taking a holiday has never been more important and more challenging. Many people struggle to find the time to take a break. And when they do they find it difficult to truly switch off, continuing to check emails and answer phone calls. We are built to oscillate between stress and recovery, preferably on a daily basis. But even if we have effective daily strategies to maintain our wellbeing, there’s an ambient level of stress that a genuine break from work can help address. Taking a clean break from work can have significant benefits to our health, well-being and performance.  As leaders, we need to role model this to our people as well. There’s no point encouraging your team members to take time off if you never do. Here are five ideas for how to take a holiday well:

  1. Plan ahead. Secure the time in your calendar and gain the required approvals. I have found when I failed to plan ahead, it was difficult to find a completely free week. Lock the time away early so it can’t be booked over.
  2. Delegate and collaborate. Distribute any responsibilities that need to happen while you’re away. Use this as an opportunity for further development and growth. Pay it forward by supporting others when they take leave.
  3. Prepare for the break, but don’t overwork. Communicate the dates you will be away. Document any work in progress and take time to walk others through what might come up while you’re away.
  4. Switch off completely. Set clear boundaries with your work. Leave the work laptop and phone at home. You might want to provide a contact phone number to a trusted colleague for any emergencies that arise, but be clear about what constitutes an emergency.
  5. Choose the type of holiday you need. Holidays come in many different forms. A holiday might be about activity, or connections with friends, or rest by a pool, or a cross-cultural experience. Try new things and broaden your horizons. But make sure you don’t come back from your holiday exhausted.

Holidays are an important part of sustained performance as a leader. Build a culture where holidays are encouraged and supported. Be prepared and set others up for success. Role model taking a break to your team and colleagues.

Now’s a great time to book that next holiday in. Have a great week.


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