The Federal Credit Union September-October 2013 - (Page 42)

management insight Do Yourself and Your Team a Favor — Take a Vacation By Michelle Merritt m ore than one-third of working Americans don’t use all of their paid vacation days. For many Americans, that means giving up paid time off they will never see again. Research shows that many Americans think they’re too busy, can’t seem to match up calendars with family and friends, or simply can’t afford to go anywhere. According to CNN Money, this translates into a forfeit of more than $34 billion in unused vacation each year. Try to get past the staggering amount of money lost in unused vacation days, and you’ll realize the additional consequences that occur when you opt out of vacation time you’ve earned. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the work responsibilities that make us think we simply can’t afford to take precious time off. However, research shows that R&R not only makes you a better leader, but does wonders for your team. Vacation can lead to big rewards for everyone. Build Trust Both Ways Team members give their best work to leaders they trust. Trust begins when we demonstrate faith and confidence in our team. What better way to do that than by leaving the business in their capable hands? Getting away and checking in only periodically (a 2009 study by Harvard Business School Professor Leslie Perlow found only 2 percent of us actually don’t check in while on vacation) shows your team members you trust them to handle things in your absence. Give Your Team a Chance to Shine Your time away will not only demonstrate that you trust your team, it will also show 42 You might be surprised to learn who steps up to manage challenges while you were out. you who thrives and who struggles without your hands-on guidance. You might be surprised to learn who stepped up to manage challenges while you were out. The opposite can also be true. I once returned from vacation to learn a team member was even more challenging to work with while I was away. I knew she was unhappy, but I had always assumed her unhappiness was the direct result of working for me. The knowledge I gained about this team member when I was away became vital information in determining how to manage both the team member and the department moving forward. to represent our company at all times, especially in today’s social media–crazed environment. You simply never know who’s watching, and that can be exhausting. While acting like a college student on spring break is out of the question, taking a vacation means removing your name badge and simply being yourself. “Time away allows me to recharge my batteries and tap into other sides of my personality,” noted Carolyn Lane, vice president of human resources for Three Rivers Federal Credit Union. “I come back energized and with a fresh perspective.” Get Inspired Leaders who schedule leisure time are often healthier and experience less stress. A University of Pittsburgh’s Mind-Body Center survey of 1,399 participants showed that those who experienced leisure time — including vacations — benefited from lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones and smaller waistlines. Many of us find ourselves in a rut — trying to get through the to-do list, and leaving little time for the creativity or free thought necessary to lead. Marsha Wulpi, owner of JAM Impressions, an Indiana-based promotions company, says, “So often I feel I could do better with strategic planning with my business by allowing myself the time for the task of planning. Being on vacation frees me up from so many things and gives me that luxury.” Wulpi recently returned from a two-week European vacation and noted that traveling “helps you to ‘stretch’ yourself and think outside the box.” Take Your Name Badge Off Many business leaders find it necessary to be “on” whenever they’re out of the house. As a face of our organization, it’s important Get Healthy Whether your idea of a vacation is a long weekend at the beach or a two-week European holiday, taking time away will help you manage your physical and emotional well-being, build a better team and, ultimately, make you a better leader. Michelle Merritt is a corporate culture and organizational change expert and a freelance writer specializing in business. She can be reached at The Federal CrediT Union September–OctOber 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Federal Credit Union September-October 2013

Voices & Opinions
Fromt the Chair
Inside NAFCU
Technology Today
What You Need to Know Now About EMV
core Competency
In Case of Emergency
Delivering for Dealers
Getting to Know...
Management Insight
Compliance Central
Inside NAFCU Services
From the President's Desk

The Federal Credit Union September-October 2013