January 16, 2018 / GET OVER YOURSELF
January 16, 2018
It’s just so hard to get away.
There are meetings, decisions to be made, people who need me.
If that sounds like you, well, you aren’t alone. Last year, more than half of American workers ended the year with unused vacation days in the bank.
It’s easy to cast blame around, there are so many responsibilities, so many people to whom we are accountable. There’s just not enough time, not enough hours in a day, a week, a year.
Yes, the hours are fixed. The 26-hour day hasn’t been created. Time is immutable.
Right now, it’s time for you to change. It’s time to drop the preciousness around the notion that you are irreplaceable. You’re not. None of us are. And yet, we spend an inordinate amount of time at work acting as if we were; and it’s not serving anyone well.
Moving through the workplace as if it cannot function without you weakens your team. It creates an air of dependence that could hobble them if you were to leave. It limits their ability to grow and to make decisions without constantly relying on your approval. It also limits their investment in the company by denying them meaningful ownership in the decision-making process.
Equally bad is the fact that seeing yourself as irreplaceable limits to you. When you see your place in the company as fundamentally essential, it can hinder your willingness to grow in your career. If you see yourself as irreplaceable, you risk putting down roots so deep you will never leave. The time will never be right.
What’s to be done?
Delegate decisions where appropriate. Begin to let members of your team make decisions without running them by you first. It will empower them and you as you begin to recognize that their strengths benefit you as well.
Take a two-week vacation. Two weeks sounds heretical, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s a great strategic move. If you only leave for a week, the team will set aside problems and decision-making to await your return. Go for two weeks and they will find they can address more than they realized. What’s waiting for you after vacation will be those items that genuinely demand your attention.
Remember that time is immutable and life is finite. In his famous Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs said, “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent.” Manage your time and your team in ways that embrace replace-ability. It will happen eventually, that much we know.
But seriously, use up those vacation days.
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