It was reported this week that Nike, the shoe and sports clothing giant, is closing their corporate offices for a week. Not because of COVID, or restructuring, or anything seemingly business-related. In fact, they did it so their employees could focus on their personal mental health.
Now I am not advocating that public safety agencies shut down for a week (although it would be nice). But it does highlight the need for people to have down time where they can truly focus on being mentally and physically well.
The truth is in many agencies there isn’t time for down time. There are personnel shortages to deal with, calls that still must be answered, and duties that must be completed. I get it.
But it also seems that we perhaps miss opportunities sometimes as leaders. Opportunities that present themselves, however briefly, to allow time for our folks to let their guard down. For the sake of “staying busy” we force our people to miss these chances to have a little down time.
Leaders take care of their people. Even if the leader doesn’t have formal authority or rank. Leaders make sure that their folks are allowed to come down from hyper-vigilant mode. To recharge. To refocus.
Without a doubt, leaders should push hard. They should expect a lot from those that follow them because they are putting forth a lot of effort themselves. But sometimes leaders also must push hard in the other direction. To rest. To relax. To make it possible for them to perform even better, even harder, when down time is over. Leaders eat last, they should also rest last.