One of the more counterintuitive things I had to as a commander in the field was to develop a sleep plan. But without one, when we were in 24-hour operations, I would work too long and sleep too little, and eventually my decisions would get worse and my leadership would too. Worse, all those eager young officers who were watching me to see what good leadership looks like would do the same thing, and eventually we would have all these great troops being led by a bunch of zombies.
There’s a holiday lesson for all of us civilian leaders here, and it’s this: Take time off. Be with your family and friends. Give plenty of time to celebration, whatever that means to you.
Why? Because that’s the only way your team will feel free to do the same. You can tell them to go home, but if you’re still sitting in your office or still out on the floor, you’re just making them feel guilty. You make them think they’re not as committed as they could be.
We all need time away to be our best selves at work, especially leaders. The heroes on your team aren’t the ones who never use their vacation days, so don’t be that person. Instead, model what work-life balance really looks like. In the end, balanced team members do the best work.