You have a lot on your plate. You have lots to think about, lots to do and lots to decide. Still, you will be so much more successful if you unplug and take a breather every once in a while (starting this weekend). However, before the sheer thought of it stresses you out … take a deep breath and r.e.l.a.x.
First, think of relaxation by this definition: “To reduce or stop work, effort, application, etc., especially for the sake of rest or recreation.” You might like the idea, but don’t see it as a possibility in your world. That is fine, and while I could write an article addressing that from a time and choice management perspective, that isn’t my goal here.
Rather, consider these three definitions of the word “relax” from Dictionary.com:
- to become less tense, rigid or firm.
- to become less strict or severe; grow milder.
- to release oneself from inhibition, worry, tension, etc.
Those definitions support my point: I believe leaders will be far more effective over time when those definitions apply to them. Here’s why:
You Can’t Do It All (Anyway)
If you are trying to do it all, you won’t succeed. If you are trying, you likely see it as a losing battle; which it is. Why? Because thinking you can do it all is wrong-headed and egotistical. This approach doesn’t work and causes stress and anxiety. Additionally, your team doesn’t want you do to it all anyway. They want to be a part of it, they want to make a difference, and they want the chance to grow and prove themselves.
It’s Not All About You
You are leading a team. You need to engage them and use their time and talents to reach your goals. Your job is to help them be successful, so why would you put all of the angst, pressure and stress on yourself? It isn’t only about you, and when you act as such, you add to your stress and don’t improve results anyway.
People Are Watching You
As a leader, you are the bellwether for your team. They are looking at you as a sign of what they should be doing, how they should be doing it, and what is expected of them. If they see a stressed over-worked leader, there are four possible outcomes, and none of them are good:
- They will lead the same way when it is their turn. (Is that you want?)
- They will look at that picture and say “I don’t want to be a leader!” (Effectively inhibiting the development of future leaders.)
- They will leave (To go work somewhere where leaders aren’t running around pulling out their hair).
- You are stressing them out. (If you have ever had a boss that stressed you out, you know that isn’t a good thing for anyone.)
It’s Not Healthy
While I’m not a doctor, we both know that there are many diseases and conditions caused by or exacerbated by the lack of relaxation. Here is a short non-expert list.
- Blood pressure problems
- Heart problems
- Stomach problems
- Dental problems
- Muscle problems
Your work is important, but not as important as your health.
You Need to Be at Your Best
Leading effectively is hard work. To do it well requires that you are alert, present and thinking clearly. To be at the top of your game demands energy and stamina. Relaxation helps to give you all of that; stress takes it away. Your organization needs your best. Your team deserves your best. And you want to do your best. Can you get there the way you are leading today?
I’ve given you five reasons why you need to relax. It’s a compelling case, isn’t it? Now is your chance to go do it.
Photo Credit: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/relax-speed-2-1445023