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The Vacation Conundrum

Everyone understands leaders should make time to recharge, yet there are also expectations these days that they remain available, informed and plugged in while on vacation. How should they strike that balance?

Posted by Ben Bradlee and Steve Pearlstein on August 10, 2009 11:02 AM
Joanne B. Ciulla

'Precious' Advice

G.K Chesterton wrote there are three ways to enjoy leisure: "The first is being allowed to do something. The second is being allowed to do anything and the third (and perhaps most rare and precious) is being allowed to do nothing."

Posted by Joanne B. Ciulla, on August 13, 2009 12:23 PM

Easy to Say, Hard to Do

It is an act of leadership for someone with significant responsibilities to "take care of yourself" rather than sacrifice your body for the cause. Unfortunately, as I pack my laptop for vacation, this is a case of "Do as I say...."

Posted by Marty Linsky, on August 13, 2009 8:53 AM

Single Dad and CEO

No leader I admire has every told me they wished they had worked harder and sacrificed their personal lives and families more for their work.

Posted by Paul Schmitz, on August 13, 2009 8:25 AM
Rick Rochelle

Wilderness Mission Statement

Those of us who teach leadership in wilderness settings have wrestled with the communication question for decades. The answer is to choose the communication options that fit your mission.

Posted by Rick Rochelle, on August 12, 2009 10:55 AM

Quitting Work Addiction

Taking vacations can be part of a larger discipline in "saying when" that includes eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and even napping.

Posted by Robert Bruner, on August 12, 2009 10:37 AM
Slade Gorton

Recess for a Reason

One need not be "plugged in" while on recess to continue learning and effectively do one's job.

Posted by Slade Gorton, on August 12, 2009 10:30 AM

Effectiveness, Not Exhaustion

Leaders need to free themselves periodically from work and associated stresses, and no one is too important to take a vacation.

Posted by Yash Gupta, on August 11, 2009 12:31 PM
Michael Maccoby

Get a Real Vacation

If you're going to unplug and relax, make sure you arrange a vacation you'll actually enjoy.

Posted by Michael Maccoby, on August 11, 2009 12:28 PM

FedEx on the Beach

A first principle of leadership is to take care of yourself. That means making sure you are of sound mind and reasoned judgment.

Posted by Michael Useem, on August 11, 2009 10:44 AM

'Kill' the Leader

Solid succession planning means handing the reins to the next in charge and pulling yourself out of the daily rhythm of the business to allow others to lead.

Posted by Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.), on August 11, 2009 10:39 AM

The Worst Vacations

Some of the worst vacation experiences I've seen happened when leaders were unable to say to themselves and their families or friends, "Now is not the time for me to disconnect."

Posted by Tom Monahan, on August 11, 2009 8:23 AM

A Culture of "Busyness"

Good leaders create other leaders. Think about what it says to the next generation when leaders model workaholic tendencies.

Posted by George Reed, on August 11, 2009 7:32 AM

Not Whether But How

If a leader decides to take a longer break, whether clearing brush in Texas or going deep-sea fishing, as Harry Truman liked to do, the key is to not break the line of communication.

Posted by Mickey Edwards, on August 11, 2009 7:26 AM

Unplug So Others Can Too

If the leader can't unplug, nobody else will, and performance may suffer as a result.

Posted by Barry Salzberg, on August 11, 2009 7:14 AM
Bob Schoultz

Relax or Else

Not only does the leader need to unplug and unwind, but the rest of the organization needs to know it can function well without the leader's constant presence, virtual or otherwise.

Posted by Bob Schoultz, on August 11, 2009 7:10 AM

Threshold for Contact

To unwind you not only have to truly get away, but also need the peace of mind that issues will be properly managed -- including contact initiated when truly essential.

Posted by John H. Cochran, MD, on August 10, 2009 1:51 PM

A Safari Lesson

The reality in today's world is that leaders have to stay in touch with their organizations and with rapidly changing events on a 24/7 basis, even while on vacation.

Posted by Bill George, on August 10, 2009 11:34 AM

A Succession Test-Run

The only way to escape the rush of current events and to give potential successors an opportunity to fly solo in the top seat is to get away and let the leaders on the next level down run the outfit for a time.

Posted by Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.), on August 10, 2009 11:31 AM

Find Your Philosophy

Put forth your own philosophy of recreation-and-renewal, apply it to the specific situation at hand, and remain as consistent as you can throughout the term of your leadership.

Posted by Howard Gardner, on August 10, 2009 11:26 AM
Andy Stern

An Absolute Need

You cannot recharge the battery and use the energy at the same time.

Posted by Andy Stern, on August 10, 2009 11:10 AM

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technotheory: There's a balance to be struck, and technologies and workflows that facilitate it. In other words, one shouldn't have to read through every...

esdean: Fortunately I have been able to employ capable persons to support my efforts as CEO. Each one knows how to contact me when I am away and th...

AlanBrowne: If you haven't collected the people around you to whom you can delegate authority to act on your behalf, then you're not that much of a lead...

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