When Do Leaders Re-energize?
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

As leaders, we are expected to always be “on.”  This is a very difficult task to accomplish. And yet, we know we owe it to our teams – and our organizations – to be at our best.  Given the stresses and challenges that accompany any leadership role, we must create a rhythm that allows us to continue to excel. How do we do that?

What I have learned is a leader needs to plan and execute times to re-energize.  We need to be as committed to rest and recovery as we are to execution and outcomes.  If not, we will burn-out – and it will show in our performance and in the performance of others.  Leadership is demonstrated and our teams do what they see.  If we are stressed, our team will be stressed, too..  If we do not have time to rest and re-energize, neither will they feel compelled to do likewise.  This sets up our teams for eventual failure.

Rest and recovery are the hallmarks of extraordinary performers at all organizations and at all levels.  And, it does not “just happen.”  It’s a part of the routine of great athletes, great coaches, and great leaders.  However, it may be the part of leadership learning that gets the least amount of attention.  How often have you heard a talk by a great performer on how they rested?  Rarely.  We have countless ways to hear about how a leader does almost every other task.  Rest – not discussed.  Why is that?

I am convinced it is because it can be seen as a “weakness” by some.  Our culture emphasizes outcomes.  Rest and recovery is not often viewed as a necessary lead indicator to sustainable achievement – but it most certainly is.  Therefore, we as leaders need to build a recovery regimen that we execute daily, weekly, monthly and annually.  We must also encourage our teams to do the same thing.  Such an emphasis will result in happier, healthier, and more sustainable organizations – and business outcomes.

You have received this message on the last day of one of my summer vacation.  I have spent this week with family and friends doing what I love to do.  It is a part of my annual recovery effort.  Vacation, daily rituals, weekly reviews, monthly planning, and attentiveness of my readiness or “on-state” is what I must do to sustain my ability to lead and (with the help of others) attain ever increasing and demanding outcomes.  It is more needed for me – and others – than ever before.

So, what are you doing to rest and recover?  Do you have rituals to re-energize based on your challenges and opportunities?  Do you encourage others to develop a routine that allows them to give their best through thoughtful recovery?  If not, maybe it’s time to start.

I certainly hope you get some time to enjoy our terrific summers in Upstate New York.  Maybe I will see you out fishing – one of my favorite things to do.  Or, I might see you at one of the great summer festivals. Enjoy your rest and recovery.  It is what gives your leadership abilities the best opportunity to shine!