Who’s Got Your Back?

Yesterday Martha wrote about all the great reasons you should be getting away from the office and taking a vacation. If the benefits to you are not enough reasons for you, then think about how your TEAM benefits from you sitting on a beach, umbrella drink in hand.

How does the saying go? When the cat’s away, the mice will … grow, stretch and get the work done?

Seriously, when you are unavailable, your team is challenged to step up. They will benefit from your absence in a number of ways, such as:

  • Increased visibility and responsibility – Somebody has to stand ready to step in to your shoes while you are gone. It is Murphy’s Law that someone, somewhere, will have a question for you or a situation that needs your help while you are gone. Instead of taking your smartphone to the beach “just in case,” put your team on point while you are out. That way, if something does come up, they get to show off their capabilities and test out their ability to “manage up.” Are you concerned they may not be ready, or might make an epic flub if you are not there to help them? If so, let me break it to you gently, that you maybe haven’t prepared them well enough? You might have some work to do …
  • The best way to learn is to do – You can put your team through all sorts of training courses, but the best way for them to build their knowledge of the business is to have them handle your job while you are out. They will get firsthand knowledge of what keeps you up at night and will benefit from the added perspective.
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder – Let’s face it, your team probably works incredibly hard to manage your needs – answering your questions, responding to your requests and providing you with status updates on their work. While you are gone (assuming you are not emailing requests from the beach … ), they have more time to focus on their work without distractions.

So there you have it – there really are no reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t take some time off. We all like to think we are indispensable and that the world would stop if we get hit by a bus tomorrow (and in the case for your family and friends – it would).

However, when it comes to developing your team AND taking care of yourself, “indispensable” is not the goal to strive for. Shoot instead for something more like “able to relax and take time off knowing the team is prepared and has my back …”.

Heather Nelson is a Partner at PeopleResults. You can reach her on Twitter @HeatherGNelson1.