Leaders may, and should, take days off, but the leadership system can never have a day off. It has to be functioning 24/7/365.
The leaders of a nationally well known organization seemed surprised by the results of their premier event of the year. Had they had the proper leadership systems in place, they should have not been surprised at all. Rather, everything should have been tested out thoroughly in advance and they should have, like in playing chess, had action plans ready to go for all the key variables that could have taken place. So there need to be thorough testing systems in place as part of a good leadership system. And there needs to be an action planning system in place to be implemented the moment there are even indications that key issues may not be right.
Excellent communications systems are the glue that holds most organizations together. If communications are not excellent, things can start to fall apart even in the best of organizations. This is especially true as it pertains to communications with first line employees – those who actually do the work every day. Leaders should always be checking with the people on the ground because they know the facts and they’re usually honored to share these facts. Further, they often have excellent ideas for solutions to problems that are occurring related to their every day work.
Process management systems are also an important part of the leadership systems. The daily tasks that occur need to keep occurring in an excellent fashion collectively or problems may arise.
And there need to be measurement systems in place, in part, for an early warning system that can tell leaders when even the first hints of problems start to occur. Further, these measurement systems need to be so thorough that they can give at least clear indications of a pinpoint reason why problems are occurring.
The above are just part of good leadership systems. So, senior leaders, by all means take time off. But if you want to have a peaceful time off, and/or a harmonious return, you might want to make sure all of your leadership systems are in place and functioning well before you leave.