When you started your business, were you excited about the lifestyle and the freedom it would bring? Did you envisage yourself being able to spend more time with your family and taking well-earned breaks in the sun?
Fast forward a few years, and you’re asking yourself what happened. Some weeks you struggle to even take a day off, and you know that your business just couldn’t run without you. Your team don’t seem to be able to make decisions or solve problems independently, so you don’t feel able to loosen your grip on things. A holiday is out of the question, and if you do go away, you spend much of your time answering emails or worrying about what you’ll be going back to.
This is far from ideal, but it’s the situation that many business owners find themselves in. Whether it’s because of a tendency to micromanage, fears about delegating, a lack of trust, or real concerns about your team’s capabilities, something has to change.
If you don’t take breaks or have any balance in your life, you’ll end up burned out, disillusioned and miserable.
According to research from Sage, more than 30% of entrepreneurs don’t take holidays, so if you can’t remember when you last took a break, you’re definitely not alone.
Taking a break from your business has benefits, and you don’t always have to be working your fingers to the bone to be successful. Here’s why taking a break is a good idea.
If you worry that your business can’t run without you, here’s your chance to see how it goes. Overcome your fears about delegating tasks, give clear instructions on who is responsible for what, and be clear about what you expect to see on your return. This is the best way to see where there’s room for improvement.
Creating space between you and your business is also a good way to get some perspective. If you’re constantly firefighting and dealing with the minute details, you might not be able to see the wood for the trees.
Time away to clear your mind might help you come up with the answers to some of your most pressing issues.
It’s vital that you have time to relax and reboot your system. You’re not going to be at your best personally or professionally if you don’t. If you feel your focus and passion is waning, a break could be just what you need, so you return feeling fresh and ready to work on growing your business.
Most positive things in life are achieved when we are in balance. Spending time away from work with your family and friends is a good way to regain balance and replace a bit of the stress you’ve been carrying around with you with joy and happiness.
If you’re thinking, well yes, this all sounds good, but there never seems to be a good time for me to be away, you’re right, there is never an ideal time to be away! But if you book time off well in advance, it gives you and your team time to prepare.
You are at the helm of the ship. If you are run ragged, miserable, and jaded, how is this going to affect your team and your business? This is why taking breaks and looking after your well-being in general is vital.
You also need to encourage your employees to do the same. If you are at your desk for hours on end, don’t take a lunch break, and barely take holidays, this gives the message to your team that that’s what you expect of them. Take your breaks and return to work happier and well-rested, and so will they. It makes for a far happier workplace.
Finally, if you do have a break, remember to have a break. It’s not a break if you’re logging into your email every few minutes. If you really must check in, allocate a small window of time, but then get back to enjoying just being instead of doing.
In modern society, being busy and overworked seems to have become a badge of honour. But the reality is that increasing numbers of people are experiencing poor mental and physical health because of it. Time off is good for the body and soul, and how many times have you wished that you just had the opportunity to just sit, plan, and dream big for your business? Time off gives you the headspace to do just that.
You are a business owner, but you’re also a human being, so every time you think about having time off and you get pangs of guilt, here’s how you can make sure that you get to take time off every year.
Plan out a schedule for the year. This may seem like a mammoth task, but it will allow you to plan around busy times and make sure everything is in place for when you’re away. Once you have blocked out time for holidays, time to work on your business, and all other essentials, make sure that your team and clients are aware of when you’re going to be unavailable. If you don’t respect your boundaries, no one else will.
Once you know when you’re going to be off, the next thing to do is put systems in place so things run a little more smoothly without you. Make it so that your team knows what to do when to do it, and how you want it done, and create processes where everything is documented and run systematically so your business runs like a well-oiled machine even when you’re not there.
This is the ideal, but let’s address the elephant in the room. What if you feel that your team aren’t able to run things without you?
As you’re probably aware by now, not every employee is constantly happy and well-motivated, no matter how good they are. As a business owner and leader, it’s your job to create a great team that has the skills and confidence to get things done without you and who want to come in and do a great job every day.
So how do you do this? Be an inspirational leader who people want to get behind. If your team see you being negative and getting stressed about everything, they’ll follow your lead.
Show your team that you believe in them, and trust them to get things done without you having to be involved. This will make them feel empowered, valued, and more confident in what they are doing.
Don’t be the boss that people only hear from when they’re going to get in trouble, or when something has gone wrong. The approach of a leader who is successful in the longer term should be more carrot, less stick. You need to make people feel supported and treat them with respect and empathy in all of your interactions, and you’ll have a better relationship with them. The better the relationship you have with your team, the harder they will work for you and your business.
There’s nothing more demotivating than feeling that you’re just a ‘number’ at work, so an important part of motivating your team and getting them to perform well is by offering positive feedback and saying thank you for a job well done. When your team know that their contributions matter and their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed, they’ll be more likely to take pride in what they’re doing and be invested in a successful outcome.
Of course, you have to allow your employees to shine too. This means backing off and letting them get on with things. If you’re constantly trying to get involved or tell them how you would do something, they won’t feel empowered or trusted.
Being a great leader is a fine balancing act between offering enough support to make your team feel valued and confident, and making them feel less capable and condemning yourself to being overworked by holding onto the reins too tightly.
Your team are a great asset, and if you use them in the right way, you’ll make your business ripe for success.
Do you want your team to have the confidence and ability to run the business even when you are not there? Do you want a team that understands its remit and accountability, and that keeps going when you’re busy on other things?
Do you want to be able to take holidays and spend time with your family, safe in the knowledge that your business is still going places? Do you want to feel confident in your employees and know that they feel supported and cared for?
Do you want a workplace that has a great atmosphere, where everyone has each other’s back? Do you want a team that’s more productive because they’re utilising the skills they’ve learned and looking at the business strategically, wanting it to grow and develop?
I can help.
I work with you and your team identifying needs and sharing bite-size training, virtually and in the work premises.
I involve the team through workshops and 1-2-1s to upskill and develop both the team and individuals. I use team-building activities to bond the team.
Using strengths bite-size training and performance management the team will develop a strategic view of what’s needed for the business to flourish.
Through the involvement of the team and capitalising on people’s strengths, it will create a high-performing team that wants to go the extra mile. Through pulling the team together it stops sub-cultures and creates a feeling of belonging.
Your team will develop confidence in their abilities and will learn how to make decisions and move forward, even when you are not there.
Employees like to be involved and with the skills I will pass on to you and your team you will see morale and working relationships improve.
I’ve managed and led operational teams for 30 years and I understand how personal lives and other issues can intrude on work, and what support teams need.
I hold a Level 7 CMI Professional Consulting Diploma plus IODA Qualification Equal Opportunities, as well as Level 5 CMI Management and Leadership.
If you’d like an energised, high-performing team who work together efficiently and confidently even when you’re not there– get in touch with me to find out how.