emerge performance - How Rest and Recovery Can Make You a Better Leader

How Rest and Recovery Can Make You a Better Leader



17-Nov-2017

What makes a good leader? While there’s no magic formula, there are many qualities and attributes associated with strong leadership – for instance, empathy, intuition, confidence, resilience, tact and a sharp mind, to name a few.

Among these more obvious examples, here’s one that might not have sprung to mind: being well rested.

Although getting a good night’s sleep and recharging from time to time with a holiday may not seem like prerequisites for a leadership role, maybe they should be. Here are a few of the ways that rest and recovery can make you a better leader.

Avoid burnout

Leadership roles are not for the faint of heart. Whatever your industry, you are likely grappling with long days, high stakes and major stress. Yet just as building a truly great business requires a vision beyond quarterly results, leadership success requires building up people and an organisational culture over the long term.

So why are rest and recovery important? Because maintaining a sprinting pace over a marathon distance is simply unsustainable. Making time to pause and catch your breath will make you more resilient, allowing you to keep moving forward over the long haul. On the other hand, ploughing ahead non-stop will put you at risk of burning out.

Boost your performance

To perform at your best mentally, you need to take care of your body. This isn’t just a vague notion – there’s been plenty of research linking physical well-being with cognitive performance.

Take sleep, for example. With insufficient rest – especially a long-term sleep deficit – we are less able to do our jobs well. Specifically, a lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your ability to multi-task, think creatively and practice emotional intelligence.

The good news? If you make the effort to get a bit more sleep each night, your body will reward you with improved attentiveness, increased energy and the mental clarity required to be a good leader.


Improve your awareness

When you are bombarded with non-stop emails, meetings and people asking you to make decisions, it can be easy to lose your focus. And it is precisely these kinds of distractions that can make it difficult to think strategically and develop innovative solutions.

Giving yourself time to clear your head and gather your thoughts can help you become more aware of the things that really matter. This kind of rest and recovery can take many forms – for example, a period of daily self-reflection, a technology-free lunch break or simply an evening walk with your spouse.

Whatever form it takes, building a distraction-free quiet period into your day can help you see the big picture and avoid being swept off course as you lead your organisation forward.

Rest well, lead better

Being a leader is like being on a complex journey with unexpected obstacles, unfamiliar terrain and a destination that often remains elusively out of reach. There’s no way to guarantee a smooth journey, but ensuring you get sufficient rest and recovery will aid you in navigating the road ahead.


Header photo by Alex Bertha on Unsplash

Body photo by Pete Nowicki on Unsplash