Taking the Vacation Days – Deputy Regulations

“To take the vacation days is a must-do. But we have a little problem,” the technical leader called out to me.

One of the plant managers, of which I was the superior, wanted to go on the planned vacation, but his deputy suddenly ended up in the hospital after a skiing accident.

“Do you have any idea who could take over the temporary replacement, so that nothing stands in the way of the colleague’s vacation?” I asked.

“I know someone who has run this plant before,” he came back with a slight grin.

“Nope,” I said. “That was 10 years ago.” And my thought, whether I could afford it in my role now, resonated in the background. After all, I was responsible for six other chemical production plants at the site.

Nevertheless, I accepted the challenge.

For a week, I was again the plant manager from back then in a plant, that was subordinate to me as site leader. Back to basics and daily workflows.

There was more to do than expected, because exactly this week a large order tumbled in, which made the conversion of a production line necessary with all the many regulations, tests and agreements.

It was fascinating how quickly I found my way back into the daily routines. And how I found my own handwritten notes in the file folders. And how much joy the whole thing gave me.

What I perceived as very positive as a consequence of this decision were ….

✳️ The pride of the team that the site leader personally took care of the plant’s fortunes, especially when it comes to an important order. That touched me.

✳️ The respect of the other plant managers. For the fact that I, as their boss, accepted this, their tasks and got along quite well with it. That made me a little proud.

✳️ And finally, the message that spread throughout the site. That when it comes to vacation, a lot is made possible. I was very happy about that.

➡️ How do you see this? Is it helpful for leaders to immerse themselves in a detailed process from time to time, or does it rather distract from the overarching leadership responsibility?

My name is Bernd Scharbert and my job as a mentor and facilitator for executives is to pass on my experiential knowledge after more than 30 years of leadership experience in the corporate world. If you are interested, please feel free to follow me at LinkedIn, #prepare4landing or contact me directly.

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