Vacation When On Vacation

The purpose of vacation is the remove yourself from the everyday world to take a break.  Whether you are camping, taking a cruise, going to an amusement park or sitting at home painting, the idea is to stop working for a few days.

This was so much easier to do in the days before remote access to email, and the trend of needing to keep in touch with work issues.  It is almost like people think they are so indispensible that if they don’t answer email the company will fall apart.

The sad reality is that we are all replaceable.  The world will not stop or fall apart if you take a week off to rest and recuperate, and if you don’t believe me I suggest you imagine how things would evolve if you were hit by the proverbial bus on vacation and could not return for a month.  Gee, life would go on would it not?

So given that August seems to be the biggest vacation month of the year, I have actually been pleased that my emails are being returned with out of office messages like – “I will not have access to email or voicemail until I return.”

If you have never tried to vacation on vacation, give it a try the next time you take time off.  Coming back to work fully charged is a great way to reimburse your company for that paid time off!

Finding Leadership

I pulled out a note card the other day from a Successories Collection I have and it was titled Leadership.  It said “Leadership is about capturing the imagination and the enthusiasm of your people with clearly defined goals that cut through the fog like a beacon in the night.”

Although to get the full affect, you have to visualize the picture of a stormy sea, with a lighthouse light piercing through the darkness to support the definition’s power.  I have been working for 30+ years in corporate America, and friends I have seen very little of this leadership style in the flesh.

What I have witnessed too often are politically savvy people that know how to cut through anything in their path to success, and the security of their wealth.  I’ve seen people that have more passion about their products than the people they have working for them, and for those that have a vision; they lack the will or ability to make it happen.

But just because I have seen more of the above style of leader than what my note card describes, does not mean they don’t exist.  There are leaders who know where they are going and know how to lead others in the same direction.  There are leaders who see their employees as the ticket to success or failure and do what is necessary to build them up and not tear them down.  I have read about leaders that walk their talk before they even talk about it.

I have a short list of leaders that practice servant leadership, and are running ethical and upstanding organizations.  I have witnessed a few that put people over short-term profits because they can see past tomorrow.  But why with all of the books, programs, training, forums, coaches and companies that focus on building leaders do we have so few of them around?

I started to read a book the other day about where have all our leaders gone.  The premise being that this country once had a lot of leaders that lead and didn’t play all these games played today.  That somehow, we have evolved into a country that lacks leadership in every corner of society, government and the workplace.  How sad if this is true.  How deplorable if this generation is allowing it to happen.

However, I like to think that after every storm we can count on the sun rising on a new day.  I would like to hold out hope that we have such people running companies in America, and I invite you to comment to this blog with your examples with their name, company and why they need to be recognized.  They just have to be out there somewhere, so let’s go find them!

Recognize UP

I had a former employee email me out of the blue today just to thank me for the way I did my job some 5 years ago!

We worked for a rather caustic organization that would have one manager pushing down on the next manager, so the dumping of stress down the chain of command was rather common, except in my division.  As the Chief Learning Officer I was not about to practice the opposite of what we were training, so I would block all that was rolling down at me from my managers and staff. 

Although it was the right thing to do, it took its toll on me after some time and after I left the organization, my team was soon well aware of what I had been doing as they now felt the full force of what I held back from happening to them.  I had spoken with all of them after leaving, but I was helpless to prevent the onslaught.

Today, one of these managers was reflecting on the difference I made.  She commented that she not only appreciated what I did, but said she realized that not many people would have acted the way I did.

We all spend so much time training managers to recognize the efforts of our staff, and please do not stop those efforts.  Today though, I was reminded about how good you can make a manager feel when you Recognize UP!

How Hard is it to Hit the Reply Button?

Like everyone connected to the internet, I get hundreds of emails a day, and it took what seemed like forever to dig out of the hole after being gone on vacation last week.  What I find though is it takes only seconds to hit the reply button to let people know I have received their message and will get back to them as soon as I can.  I feel this simple act is both quick and considerate.

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago on Business Ettiqute, and it is probably one of my least favorite skills to train because somewhere before you got to this place in your career, you should have learned these skills, so I get a little testy about reciting the basics.  Email itself lacks the personal touch of verbal communications, but it is a quick way to communicate.

With this in mind, put yourself in the place of the senders of email to your inbox.  When you send an email to someone asking for anything, do you enjoy having to follow up, wait weeks on end to hear from someone or be ignored completely?  I doubt it, so don’t return the same to people sending you an email.

We are all busy!  We are all needing others to help us at times!  So the next time you get an email, hit the reply button and let the person know you are not ignoring them!