This Tuesday, Congress returned from their scheduled two-week recess. Unlike many of us in our careers, work on the Hill requires scheduled time for Congress to break away from business as usual. There are plenty of leaders who may feel like so much time off would be a waste.
No doubt recess, as it is understood in Congress, may not be a recess in the traditional sense. Most of Congress spend their time engaging in their communities and visiting with constituents. Their use of recess is a reminder that even our breaks away can be moments to refresh our leadership and organizations. While Congress surely had plenty of work waiting for them when they returned, these intentional breaks are an opportunity to reconnect, revive, and move forward.
Evaluating where we are at and discovering where we want to be is essential for all of us. Although, most of us never consider doing this outside of work. In the minds of many leaders, rest is hardly a time we imagine we can afford. Yet often, a new atmosphere, a relaxed day outdoors or hours that aren’t spent in the conference room are the best times to engage new visions and goals.
For many, time spent relaxing can be more stressful than our time at work. In fact, some studies even find that mishandling our downtime with only passive activities can actually increase our stress. This may be an indicator that not all of us know how to be most efficient with our time off. While we all need time to truly unplug, sometimes there is no better way to catch a fresh vision for our teams than by resting.
Rather than always stressing over being away from the office, or just avoiding it, use your time more wisely to refresh your vision.
Here are 6 ways leaders can use times of rest to refresh their vision:
- Gain a fresh perspective. Recall how and why you first arrived at your current vision and take the time to reevaluate it. Consider changes that have occurred in your organization or team, and how they may shape your future vision.
- Reinvent the wheel. The best times to reinvent the wheel are the moments you are not always behind it. Take the time away to evaluate how your systems are working and imagine how they could work differently.
- Expand your patience. Sometimes rest is essential in increasing your patience with others. If you never give yourself a break, how can you offer it to others. Give employees room to grow. Make space for people to make mistakes, without scolding them for it.
- Give your team some ownership. A little time away is a great season to gauge how much you are empowering your teams. Are you always the one casting a vision? Are you the only one ever talking about the future? By not always being in the office, you can offer them more ownership in the role. Encourage your team to be thinking tanks and challenge them to be visionary.
- Keep your team on their toes. There is a fine line between being authentic, leaving room for error and making sure you keep your people sharp. Bringing a refreshed vision can offer new life to your work culture.
- Create ease in the workplace. Ease does not mean lazy. But making sure your team is efficient and productive doesn’t mean you have to be a tyrant either. Allow times of rest to seep into the workplace, so that you can build a sense of security within your culture.
Taking time off is essential for your health, your personal life and your work. Even the White House needs a break from time to time. While fear may linger that time away from the office is time lost, it doesn’t have to be. By discovering ways to engage in rest, you will allow times of respite to shape and influence your leadership.
Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and is the author of "Framework Leadership." A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. As president, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership at the university and is also a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern’s president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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