Leadership Nudge® 357 – Vacation and Control

July 21, 2021by Sandy Wilmer

Vacations are important because it’s a time when we can recharge our batteries. But they’re also a good acid test in terms of our level of comfort with giving up control. What can you do to give up control while on your vacation?


Coming up to that time of year when we take vacations. While we normally do, it may be a bit different this year.  

But here’s something to think about. How easy do you find it to really switch off? To really let go, by which I mean, turn off your phone, turn off your messages.  

Now, vacation comes from the Latin word for vacatio, which literally means exemption from work. But when you signed off with your out of office message, did you say, “I’ll be away until the 30th of July and I’ll respond to your messages then?” Or maybe something like, “I’ll have limited access to email,” which hints that you will be actually looking and you may be responding.  

Now, vacations are important because it’s a time when we can recharge our batteries, of course, but they’re also a good acid test in terms of our level of comfort in terms of giving up control. So if we find it difficult to give up control, to switch off completely, to turn off the phone, it might tell you one of two things. It might be about your level of comfort in terms of handing over responsibility to other people in the team. It might tell you about your level of confidence in their competence and clarity to do the job.  

Whichever way, if you find it difficult to switch off, it might be a little warning sign of something that needs attention. Obviously, it needs attention after you return from your vacation.  

I’m Peter Russian, in beautiful sunny Scotland, where a vacation is always worth it. That’s your leadership nudge for this week. 

Sandy Wilmer