Want to get ahead? Take a vacation. (succession planning)

by Edward Henkler on June 10, 2014

John Lucht’s book, “Insights for the Journey”, suggests that many leaders fail to get promoted as they don’t have a viable succession plan.  He specifically cites leaders who either skip their vacations or work throughout and adds the following tongue-in-cheek observation.  “The Corporation has no means of conferring sainthood – leaders are promoted, martyrs are further oppressed.  Relax…prove you can take a vacation by established a clear plan for who’ll do what while you’re gone – a trouble free absence demonstrates that you’ve assembled and lead an exceptional team.“

Insights for the Journey

Sounds like a dream come true but it also makes sense.  Your boss is unlikely to want to see you leave if you’re a valued contributor and there isn’t an obvious replacement.  There are many ways to showcase your subordinates and even potential candidates from other areas.  Cross-functional project participation and presentations to the senior team are obvious and should absolutely be employed.  Vacations are another obvious way to give your subordinates exposure to your management, while demonstrating the strength of your organization.  They also happen to be fun and a great stress buster.  All of which makes a recent Expedia survey somewhat baffling.  The non-scientific survey found that people average 14 days of vacation but only take 10 of those days.  Assuming most of those days are paid days off, one has to wonder why nearly 1/3 of the days are discarded.

Most of the explanations that come to mind suggest that you either need to improve your team or your delegation skills.  I also suspect that most employees would not only relish the opportunity to prove themselves but are actually happy when the boss is away.

The bottom line – take a vacation – your staff will love you and you just may get promoted!

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