Do Leaders Get a Day Off?

Julie Jones
It’s vacation season, and who doesn’t love a trip to the beach, a hike in the mountains, or traveling to a new city? So how do leaders build up their benefit time to plan for their time off? Seems simple, doesn’t it? Most companies offer vacation benefits, but I’m referring to leadership benefit time –time granted by employees to you, the leader, for your use. Leadership benefit time is virtual leadership currency—reflecting your commitment to people, the team, and the organization.  

When you have a positive leadership benefit time balance, employees:
  • give you the benefit of the doubt when your actions would typically cause a withdrawal from your account
  • recognize and reward your efforts by handling a sticky issue on their own
  • are willing to hear you out on a controversial topic
  • lastly, the freedom to take real vacation days because they sense your confidence in them.

They know you trust your team, their skills, abilities, and decisions.  

A leader always casts a shadow—your behaviors and actions define you. What does your shadow say about you? Does your shadow form when light is shined on people creating a warm shadow, or do you block sunlight from reaching people and create a dark side cold shadow instead? Trust via leadership currency is the difference between a warm and cold shadow.

Trust is a foundational skill for leaders – employees trust that you have their best interest in mind, they trust that you are making the right decisions, they trust that you will handle them with care and concern, they trust that you are fair and inclusive and the list could go on. When trust exists, they support you as the leader and make deposits in your leadership account.

Building trust using the 5 C’s – character, competence, courage, consistency, and connection is vital. People evaluate your leadership performance daily, rate your commitment, and make “leadership” funding decisions. Withdrawals for poor leadership behaviors frequently have penalties attached -- some actions carry a heftier price tag for recovery.

For example, consider the items below and note where you have made deposits or withdrawals to individual employee accounts.

Deposits Withdrawals
recognizing effort blaming
doing more than you have to not meeting or honoring commitments/promises
developing others offering poor feedback, anger, or public criticism
making tough decisions making no decision
team behaviors "I" focused behavior
quality work incomplete, inaccurate work
interest and positive interactions with team driven by task instead of people
giving back taking more than you give
integrity and honesty gaps in moral behavior

Staying in a positive balance takes intention. Think about challenges of the pandemic. People needed compassion and empathy from their leaders more than ever before. During that time, what specific behaviors did you find promoted a positive balance in your leadership fund? What were the outcomes you could achieve that you didn’t think possible?

Today, what steps can you take to strengthen relationships, check your behaviors, and find ways to give back to those you serve? How can you boost your leadership currency or use your positive balance to make a more significant difference for the team and organization?   
Don't hesitate

Start with RS-Learning's Building Relationships Course and discover more about the 5 C's of trust.