Wednesday, September 4, 2013

*Systematic Break from Engagement – A Leader’s Requirement for Rejuvenation

Most writings about leadership point out things leaders should do while engaging in their day to day tasks. Or, what they ought to be as individual frontrunners, the charisma they must be endowed with, or some kind of eccentricity they’re expected to exhibit. They seldom emphasize the necessity of orderly break from their work, an impelling cause that enables them to return and act with robustness and wisdom. And a potential reason for their failure in performances. Maybe I overlooked their articles ☺ Let’s look at some of the common corporate leaders’ responsibilities starting from strategic to operational ones: leverage opportunities and resolve issues, develop a long-range course of action or set of goals to align with the organization’s vision, identify and exploit opportunities for new products, services, and markets; And, specifically, on a regular basis: absorbing daily briefings from their assistants and co-workers; come up with hard and swift decisions that require much deliberation on their part. In short, these responsibilities involve in doing more with less time. In other words, these put a lot of pressure on them. As a result, not all leaders can make all the routine moves successfully and fail to yield as per their followers’ expectations. That’s why most surveys show that many companies are not confident in their CEO’s capability to effectively perform their duties and responsibilities. Also, their determination not to fill strategic leadership positions for a number of years could be accounted for this. I think among the possible pragmatic explanations for this failure in their roles is that they don’t methodically free themselves from their daily engagement so as to come back revitalized both in their bodies and minds. All including themselves believe that they must and should incessantly engage. This seems a common attitudinal snag across the board. It’s virtually unthinkable for most leaders to alienate themselves from the ordinary routines or engagements- even for a single day. How could distancing from work be thinkable, even if it’s momentarily? For them it’s simply something uncharacteristic. After all, there are always issues to decide, discuss and resolve, overlook and evaluate. Joe Robinson, the author of Work to Live cites that "One of the downsides of being eternal action figures is that we never arrive anywhere.” Regular intervals for reflection and relaxation allow all humans (not excluding leaders) to sustain high levels of effort more of the time. If leaders never pause to take stock, savor accomplishments, evaluate the series of decisions they’ve made and maintain a sense of fun, it's hard to experience job satisfaction and productivity. Intense, prolonged time on task simply squeeze the joy out from their usual work and make them ineffective in their performance. Why take a break? Well because leaders are not robots loaded with programs and software. As long as there are uninterrupted power and proper installation, the latter can perform efficiently as expected. But not leaders who are humans! So, systematic break from engagement is really a leader’s requirement for rejuvenation.