Time Out

28 September 2020, 09:27 am
Speciality Bites by Paul Hargreaves

I well remember at a trade show a prospective new supplier telling me that he hadn’t had a proper holiday for ten years. I think this was aimed at impressing me somehow. It didn’t. I just thought how incredibly foolish and why wouldn’t someone who could afford it not take breaks away from work. It has been a strange year in that respect. Many of us have had holidays cancelled this year and for those of us spending most of the time working at home, our work life and home life have become strangely merged into one. All the more reason to get away which I am doing in a week or so.

Never have I needed a holiday more than this. We are all suffering the mental fatigue of the pandemic, whether it has been a good period for your business or not, there have been many new issues to think about and act upon. It is essential for our own well-being and to remain a good leader for our people to take time out and look after ourselves. We are not able to give out to others if we are running dry ourselves. So, don’t let anyone tell you that your are selfish for carving out time to relax, turn your phone off and holiday. You need it, your family needs it and so does your work team.

I have people say to me sometimes that they can’t take time off as they have a young team, they are too busy at work and the business wouldn’t cope without them. Or others who do take time off, but then spend half the holiday on the phone back to the office or factory or checking e-mails. Now I appreciate that there are times when you would not want to leave your team on their own, but these should be a minority of the time. There are three reasons why leaders don’t take enough holiday:

1. A work addition and an inability to simply ‘be’ without ‘doing’ the whole time – we are, after all, human beings, not human doings.
2. An inability to delegate, which generally comes down to not trusting others.  Control freakism might be another way of putting it.
3. Having the wrong people, which might be a reason for not being able to delegate as in 2) above.

If you have the right people, they love it when you are away, as they have an opportunity to step up, take more responsibility and prove themselves. They key is having the right people, which is one of the few skills I am pleased to have learned over the years. Having the right characters and people who share your values is far more important than people who are able to ‘do the job’. Do you have the right people in your business, people who you can trust to leave the business to when you are away with your phone turned off?

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