Of course, you would say. But I did not ask whether leaders may get sick.
Of course, everyone may get sick.
But the question is, what happens when a leader gets sick? Can the team still function? Are decisions still made? Is there a plan that does not depend completely on the leader?
It’s not like a planned holiday where you have prepared everything for it – hopefully?! (Working from afar is not a holiday!)
I’ve just been sick for over a week and since I don’t have a team yet, my systems should have been set up to cover for me (if I had prepared for a case of being sick). But they have not.
The same would be if I had a team. I’d have to prepare them for such a case where I could not leave my bed.
Not that it happens often, I’m rarely sick.
But how prepared are our teams for our absence?
When I was in charge of five supermarkets, Christmas was always a huge season. We would work hard on all levels to make it as successful as possible.
The key word I repeated over and over again to my store managers was ‘preparation’. The more we prepared for this busy season the better we could handle all the unforeseen situations.
On one Christmas Eve, where shops are often only open until 2pm in Germany and then reopen on the 27th of December, I took it easy for once – after weeks and weeks of hard work and long days.
Our shops opened at 7am on that day and my boss called me at 8.30am when I was just on my way to my first store. He asked me why I was not in my stores at 7am.
I exploded internally and responded in some kind of a tone that if I was needed in any of my stores at 7am on that day I had failed my job as an area manager in the weeks leading up to this day.
Don’t get me wrong, I was there on many other big days within that season, because presence is another key to effective leadership.
But on that day, I just needed another hour in the morning to finally get organised for my own family Christmas festivities.
And, by the way, my boss was happy with the stores he had already visited in my area.
The problem is that often we’re so busy with our day to day that we forget to plan and prepare ahead.
We need to prioritise preparation. And then allow ourselves to take time off when needed.
Happy Monday everyone!