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Mickey Edwards
Political leader

Mickey Edwards

Former U.S. Congressman, Mickey Edwards is vice president of the Aspen Institute, where he directs the Institute's Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership.

Not Whether But How

Like everybody else, leaders need the occasional break to recharge their batteries. A recent documentary about Winston Churchill showed how he, even in the midst of World War II, would go off to relax and paint. Tired people make bad decisions; the more important the position, the worse the fallout from those bad decisions.

The question, therefore, is not whether, but how. Many people rest not by taking quick naps, some by scheduling time to play a game of tennis or get in a good physical workout. But even if a leader decides to take a longer break, whether clearing brush in Texas or playing golf in California or going deep-sea fishing, as Harry Truman liked to do, the key is to not break the line of communication. One may instruct staff members to interrupt only for problems that are both urgent and important, putting off whatever can safely be put aside.

It's a balance -- time for rest, enforced by strict rules about interruptions -- but not breaking off the ability to react quickly when that is required.

By Mickey Edwards

 |  August 11, 2009; 7:26 AM ET
Category:  Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Unplug So Others Can Too | Next: A Culture of "Busyness"

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Reaction times always vary. They always respond, they always say yes if the business is good. The vacation should be greater since the business is good. Be oss and be gone. No time two waste and fuel to burn. Paris or bust. The kids can clean up my typos.

Posted by: Dermitt | August 11, 2009 9:38 AM
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