Get out of the office and set a good example

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19912185_MYour leadership sets a high bar for those on your team. Your strong work ethic is an inspiration — until it isn’t. Is it time to consider unplugging and taking a real vacation before the summer ends?

That’s right. You must encourage those you lead to take their vacation time by first taking a real vacation yourself. This will demonstrate that vacations are good for managers, good for employees and good for organizations.

Research shows nearly half of Americans don’t take all their vacation time each year. Another troubling trend, which has been enabled by connectivity: Many people continue to work while on vacation. And at some organizations, it’s a badge of honor to take as little time off as possible.

Yet the benefits of taking a break and stepping away from work are indisputable and two-fold: You return feeling renewed, with the energy and hunger to dive into new projects. Your team members drive your success, so you must encourage them to take time to recharge, to balance the rigors of work with well-being. In other words, you’ve got to show them how it is done.

• Start asking about vacation plans. Make it a priority to encourage others to take vacation by telling them you plan to take a week of unplugged rest. No calls, no e-mails.

• Prepare for absences: Make sure you discuss who will be accountable in your absence or the absence of anyone else taking a vacation. The goal is to make it possible for someone to take a vacation without taking calls, answering e-mails and doing work. There should not be a huge pile of makeup work and crises to sort out when you or they return.

• Just do it. Say you’ll disappear and disconnect and then disappear and disconnect. They’re on their own — and they will survive. Tell them so. The goal is to set a clear example that vacation is important — and you shouldn’t work during one. Here’s to a great vacation!

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