4 Suggestions for a leader on vacation


I’m back from two weeks of vacation on magnificent Lake Michigan.  I learned some simple leadership tips; some through success, and others as notes to do better next time.  If you’re going on vacation at some point perhaps you’ll find value in these 4 takeaways.

1. Get all the way away.  Routine can shrink our worlds, and our minds.  Vacation is a great way to feed the mind something DIFFERENT.  At whatever pace.  Try what gets YOU outside the usual: perhaps  a trash or spy novel, watercolors or pastels (the latter are as easy as crayons!!!).  Even just some indulgent long sleeps or naps can offer deeper relaxation.

2.  If you have to work, sequester it.  For your good and those you’re with, set aside a little time each day — first thing, if you’re a morning person, last, if you’re a night owl.  The worst thing is to let it hang over you all the time you’re supposed to be away!

3.  Learn about others’ work and leadership. I remember one of Jennifer’s and my first conversations with our brother-in-law Paul, on a vacation about 22 years ago.  Paul worked and still does in logistics and distribution, far afield of what we were both doing in law and government. It was so refreshing to hear him talk about how Edi’s Ice Cream was approaching leadership, with a real values approach. Kouzes & Posner would call this gaining “outsight,” to help avoid the pitfalls of getting too ingrown.  My siblings and nieces and nephews offered a wild array of thoughts about work and leadership. I’ll bet yours do as well.

4.  Let family be new!  Reunited with five of my six siblings and with our two daughters who still live in Michigan, I could see how easy it was for me to slip into the same old patterns.  And I did, probably more than I even know.  But being together offered me an invitation — supported by the time away — to see what was new and possible.  I didn’t have to fall prey to my usual knee-jerk reactions nor to categorize people, as though I understood them before they even spoke.  Stepping outside your habitual thoughts and behaviors with family, offers good practice for doing the same with your “work family,” with whom you may also have grown a bit judgmental and closed-minded.

If you’re lucky enough to have time away, grab it, and savor it.  It’ll help you,

Lead with your best self,