Can the boss take a vacation?

I haven’t taken a two-week vacation in over 20 years. Vacation mores are different around the world. In Europe, the French and Italians take up to 12 weeks of time off each year. Standard vacation policy in the United States starts at one week and builds over time. The classic summer vacation seems to be a relic of the past.

When you are the boss, vacation time builds up, but is rarely taken. Even when on vacation, the boss often feels guilty ands stays technologically connected.

How important is vacation time, and what is the value of “recharging the batteries”? I believe taking time away and gathering perspective is critical. Unfortunately, the realities of business and financial commitments can be overwhelming. So, what is the answer?

Recently, I have been taking short bursts of personal time in greater number. Adding a few days of personal time to a business trip is one way of recharging. One CEO I interviewed would take a week of personal time after every quarterly report. One of my colleagues has a weekly personal day that he spends on creative thinking. The key is to create a balance of business and personal time.

I know no one is going to feel sorry for high-paid leaders when it comes to vacation. But think of what a stressed-out, unhappy, non-creative boss will do to a business and its people.