On Leadership
Video | PostLeadership | FedCoach | | Books | About |
Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

Marty Linsky

Marty Linsky

Co-founder of the leadership-focused consulting firm, Cambridge Leadership Associates, Marty Linsky teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School, co-authors the advice column, Leadership House Call and blogs at Linsky on Leadership .

Easy to Say, Hard to Do

Especially in these turbulent and uncertain times, it is an act of leadership for someone with significant responsibilities to "take care of yourself" rather than sacrifice your body for the cause. It is often experienced as self-indulgent, but it is just the opposite of that - the organization needs you to be at the top of your game and you cannot do that unless you get the rest, relaxation, food, sleep, time for reflection and, yes, the love and affection, that you need to be a whole person and perform at your best for a sustained period of time.

It is also an act of leadership to make yourself dispensable, so that you can go on to do other great things and your organization can survive and thrive after you are gone. You cannot learn what you have created unless you un-tether yourself and let that umbilical cord fray from time to time so you can assess what they can accomplish without you.

In these days of instantaneous global communication, it is tempting to stay connected - oh, how it feeds the ego to be needed! - and tempting for your colleagues back at the office to collude with that vulnerability by lowering the threshold for defining a crisis and thereby undermining both your need for rest and your need for finding out whether you have successfully developed the capacity and potential of your colleagues and subordinates.

Saying all that, this is, sadly and somewhat pathetically, one of those "listen to what I say, but don't watch what I do" kind of issues. I believe everything I wrote here, even as I pack my trusty laptop on my way to Italy next week.....

By Marty Linsky

 |  August 13, 2009; 8:53 AM ET
Category:  Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Single Dad and CEO | Next: 'Precious' Advice


Please report offensive comments below.

Obviously Mr. Linsky is speaking about the CEO's.

It's rather unfortunate that Mr. Linsky's musings don't also transfer to the interests of the lower management and staff who must always be attached to the office, be it vacation or business trip.

Two week vacations for the lower ranking members of staff are unheard of these days. and to oppose this view would be similar to career suicide.

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | August 14, 2009 4:33 PM
Report Offensive Comment


so? he probably owns your mortgage for all you know. ... of course we've never heard of you either.


Posted by: fendertweed | August 14, 2009 4:30 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I'd think that, in Washington, leaving your BlackBerry/iPhone home (or turning it off, or temporarily disabling email service) would be the acid test.

Posted by: Quena | August 14, 2009 1:07 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Whatever way the packing goes, you can stop sweating those grapefruit sized droplets of herculean exertion and not hurry getting back. Never heard of you.

Posted by: beowulf3 | August 14, 2009 1:16 AM
Report Offensive Comment

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company