Why taking a break is essential for great leadership


The last two years have been full of disruption and constant change – for everyone, not just leaders! It has been an intense, extended period of uncertainty and now that we know more about the reality of the pandemic, many of us are entering 2022 with cautious optimism. 

Constant change can be exhausting – for leaders it means being ‘always on’, staying on guard for whatever comes next. The focus required, exercising your change management skills much more often than you would like, and constantly readjusting with little warning can start to take its toll. 

So, how can leaders take advantage of the summer break to go into a new year feeling positive and ready to embrace whatever the world throws at them and their team? 

Prioritise rest

Whether you’re getting extended time off over the next few weeks or you only get a couple of days, it’s crucial that you really take advantage of the opportunity to switch off after two years of being plugged in and alert. 

Of course, many leaders are prone to just ‘checking’ in on their emails once a day, and calling that a good enough rest. Too often, this turns into responding – and consequently receiving more emails – or scrolling unnecessarily, heightening anxiety, even if you’re not fully aware of what you’re doing to your own mental state. 

Go off grid and commit to not engaging – if that means someone needs to cover you for a day or two here or there, make that happen. Not only will your mental health improve by honouring this commitment, your friends and family will appreciate you being present while you spend some time with them. 

Take time to reflect

Without the distractions and busyness of ‘normal’ work life, it can be easier to see things objectively, which gives leaders a great opportunity to reflect. After these last two years, there’s even more to think back upon, particularly when it comes to understanding what it really takes to thrive through change. Try asking yourself some of the following questions: 

  • What are you really proud of from the past year – personally, professionally and within your team? 
  • Which things didn’t work so well? 
  • What are the things that worked really well? 
  • What did you put into place as a temporary measure that you could continue to do? 
  • If you could use one word to describe your team’s efforts this year, what would it be? 
  • What were your team’s biggest strengths and weaknesses throughout the year? 
  • Are there any trends or behaviours you’ve noticed within your team? 

Use these answers to understand the progress you’ve made and recognise the hard work that has delivered you to the other side of another tumultuous year. 

Be ready 

The answers to the previous questions can also help you as you prepare for the year ahead. Whether you know what’s in store for you and your team or not, you can use your learnings from the past 12 months and beyond to inform your next moves. Perhaps you need to grow your team to meet demands, perhaps you just need to improve your communications to ensure everyone is on the same page. 

Whatever it is, reflecting thoroughly will help you to uncover the tools that will help you to succeed in the coming year. 

Regardless of how long you get to take a break this year, make sure you make the most of it so that you and your team can thrive in the coming months, well-rested and ready to tackle whatever comes your way. 

Are you ready to look after yourself so your leadership can thrive? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.