The health of my team is important: spiritually, physically, and relationally. Making sure these areas stay strong not only helps maintain an environment where a creative can grow, but where my entire team can grow. There’s an old adage: You’re only as strong as the weakest link.
So the health of my team is a serious priority for me as creative director. As I navigate a year, I’m always looking toward approaching seasons. Will the season demand much from my team or a particular individual on my team? Will the coming agenda require more or less from us?
Focusing on the ebb and flow of our schedule before it occurs is better than reacting to it after it passes. Let’s look at the schedules of two team members.
A Full Schedule
Kim loves her job, but she’ll admit it’s easy to lose the line between “work” and “not work”. As a production manager, Kim could easily find herself working around the clock. Everyone’s ideas become her ideas and they require her immediate attention and discourse. It’s the nature of the position – lots of balls in the air all year long.
Just like her other creative teammates, Kim’s important to the team. And her work environment is like many creative teams in churches all over the nation – with little to no overlap in responsibilities. This makes her being on task even more important.
But then there’s another team member, Dan. He’s the video art director. Most of his weekly schedule is pretty consistent and comfortable. Then comes a worship series that blows away normalcy and demands multiple shoots and long edits – and long weeks – very long weeks.
Both Kim and Dan need to remain refreshed and sharp; for themselves and their team.
I Believe in Time Away
I believe strongly that for my creative team to be good at what they do, they need to be good to themselves. They need to protect their spiritual, physical, and relational health – and I need to enforce that discipline. In order to continue to grow creatively, they must refill their creative well. And doing anything less will turn them into brain-dead zombies.
A team that crumbles when a creative takes a week off isn’t built on a very strong foundation.
And it doesn’t matter if your team’s schedule is like Kim’s or Dan’s, without a break, both schedules will begin to drain physically, relationally, and spiritually. So we need to press the importance of vacations and comp time to our teams. Vacations are so important that I, as a leader, often consider putting major projects on hold in order to provide adequate time away.
This away time helps your teammates gain insight, appreciate the present moment, and gives them the ability to return to real life with a renewed sense of excitement.
Does this seem appealing to you? If it does, you probably need time away. I bet your team does too.
Here are a few good reasons why you should get away:
You’ll Refine Processes & Procedures
One of the main reasons creatives don’t get away is because they don’t think the team will survive without them.
That makes it a good reason to leave. When you go away, your processes and procedures get refined. It will make you take a look at what needs to be done and readied for your team. You might find out, as you prepare, some things aren’t necessary. Or perhaps some things could be done more efficiently.
Through this process you’re becoming a better creative even before you enjoy your first day away from the office.
You’ll Strengthen Teammates and Volunteers
Do you want your teammates to flounder while you’re gone?
It’s simply smart to train one or two people to take over your duties if you’re gone. A vacation is the perfect time to give someone a trial run to see if they’re up to the task. This person may be a paid teammate or may be one of your “star volunteers”.
This gives you the important opportunity to cross-train. It’s a difficult but necessary plan for most teams. Who are you training to learn your job?
You’ll Find a Proper Perspective
Very few people are truly indispensable. The reason most employees keep checking in with the office while away is either:
- Narcissism: “I’m not sure it will get done without me.”
- Fear: “If I don’t call in, they’ll know I can be replaced and I’ll lose my job.”
Neither of those are healthy. And we should never let narcissism or fear keep us away from our friends and family. After all, they’re the ones left after you retire from church work. Will they have fond memories of time they spent with you? Or will you miss out on relationships?
You’ll Live Longer
The Framingham Heart Study, a decades-long research project into the causes and risk factors for heart disease, found a strong link between vacations and longevity. Men who took more vacations were the ones who lived longest. Go away on vacation at least once a year and your risk of death falls by 20% compared with those who keep working.
You’ll Come Back a More Effective Creative
You can’t have a fresh eye with no rest. Creativity doesn’t come endlessly unless it’s refreshed.
The only way to get a new perspective is to get away. Get away from the office. Take a vacation – and a real one – not just three measly days.
So put your toes in the sand and saltwater so your head will be in the game when you return.
Your team needs you refreshed and focused – with a healthy perspective of your creative call and responsibilities.
You need it. Your family needs it. So do your teammates and volunteers.
Schedule your time away. Today. Do it now. Seriously. Work less.