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Leaders all need time away from their work; 
to rest, to recharge, to gain fresh perspective.


Who doesn’t love a vacation? Getting away for a while to relax and be free of the normal routine, whether to lay on a beach, tour famous sites, hike the great outdoors, or simply staycation and revel in the joys of home, is something we all need to refuel our internal resources and carry the mission forward at full capacity. As leaders with big jobs, though, it can feel hard to hand over the command, even for a short time. Here are six steps to enable you to take a break with confidence and ensure the best vacation possible.

1. Get excited.

Those who work hard should get to play hard too. Sharing your excitement will not only inspire you to make the most of your time away, but it will demonstrate to your team the importance of healthy breaks and play in your organization’s culture. Your people will be motivated to help out during your time off knowing you’ll share enthusiasm and support when it’s their turn for a break.

2. Set healthy boundaries.

It’s really hard to take a vacation if you still feel the pressure to be on-call. Making known your intentions to unplug is key; otherwise, people may be compelled to contact you when questions or challenging decisions come up. Let your team know you will be unreachable, even if you’re just relaxing at home. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies. Turning off notifications and digital devices all together can be just what’s needed to stop our habit of checking in when we should be checking out.

3. Plan ahead.

There is real peace of mind that comes from planning in advance. Making the appropriate arrangements to complete projects on or ahead of deadlines, if necessary, selecting reliable point people to contact in your absence, and notifying all the necessary connections in your organization as well as vendors and clients will ensure that you can take your break with the confidence that if things come up while you’re away, there is clarity about how they will be handled.

4. Have realistic expectations.

Allowing yourself to take a vacation can feel stressful. It can be hard to let go knowing things might not play out exactly as you’ve planned, but it’s important to be relaxed and set realistic expectations for your time away. It’s normal that some challenges might arise while you’re gone, and you might come back to a few small fires to put out. But trusting that your team will handle big ticket items while not sweating the small stuff will allow your time off to be the recharging experience it’s meant to be.

5. Empower your people.

Organizations are made up of multiple people working together for a reason: they share the workload. Your vacation can be a great time for your team to stretch their abilities. Trusting your people to step up and take charge will not only give you an opportunity to get away, but it will also give them a chance to learn, grow, come together as a team and demonstrate their value.

6. Get creative with coverage.

As a great leader, you shouldn’t be afraid to think creatively about solutions that allow you to take much-needed time for yourself. Whether it requires spreading out duties, assigning tasks to someone new, reshuffling priorities and deadlines, or trying a different digital solution, stay open to unique possibilities. You might discover an innovative way to get things done while you’re gone that informs a more efficient process for your organization going forward.

Leaders all need time away from their work; to rest, to recharge, to gain fresh perspective.  Incorporating these 6 steps into your vacation planning can help make this year’s break your best ever.


Headquartered in Chapel Hill, NC, Bell Leadership is devoted to conducting research and to developing effective individuals and organizations for more than 50 years. In our programs and services, we apply the best practices for how adults learn and retain knowledge – utilizing assessments and personality profiles from thousands of leaders, our proven algorithms drive meaningful insights. Our mission is to help people develop their personal effectiveness and leadership skills to contribute to humankind. We make it our business to understand your business. We would be thrilled to connect with you and explore how we can help build your people, so they can build your business. CONTACT US