Five Reasons Why Leaders Need To Relax - Proteus Leadership
1300 219 903

Five Reasons Why Leaders Need To Relax

Leaders have a lot on their plate. They have lots to think about, lots to do and lots to decide. This likely conjures a picture of frantic busyness and not one of relaxed calmness.

However, leaders often overlook the necessity of leisure time and how a bit of relaxing could actually help them become more successful.

Think of relaxation by this definition: ‘to reduce or stop work, effort, application, etc., especially for the sake of rest or recreation’. You might like the idea, but don’t see it as a possibility in your world.

Consider these definitions of the word relax: ‘to become less strict or severe; grow milder’, or ‘to release oneself from inhibition, worry, tension, etc.’

(all definitions from

Leaders will be far more effective over time when these things are true for them. Here’s why:

You can’t do it all

If you are trying to do it all, you won’t succeed – you’ll likely see it as a losing battle. Why? Because thinking you can do it all is wrong-headed and egotistical.

This approach doesn’t work and causes stress and anxiety. Not only that – your team doesn’t want you do to it all anyway. They want to be a part of it, they want to make a difference, they want the chance to grow and prove themselves.

It’s not all about you

You are leading a team; you need to engage them and use their time and talents to reach the organisational goals. Your job is to help them be successful, so why would you put all of the angst, pressure and stress on yourself? It isn’t only about you, and when you act as such, you add to your stress and don’t get better results anyway.

People are watching you

As a leader, you are the bellwether for your team. They are looking at you as a sign of what they should be doing, how they should be doing it and by your actions, what is expected of them. If they see a stressed, overworked leader, there are four possible outcomes, and none of them are good:

They will lead the same way when it is their turn – is that what you want?

They will look at that picture and say “I don’t want to be a leader!” – effectively inhibiting the development of future leaders

They will leave and go work somewhere where leaders aren’t running around pulling out their hair

You are stressing them out – if you have ever had a boss that stressed you out, you know that isn’t a good thing for anyone

Leaders who never relax are stressing out their teams – and everyone suffers.

It’s not healthy

There are many diseases and conditions caused by or exacerbated by the lack of relaxation. Here is a short list:

Blood pressure problems

Heart problems

Stomach problems

Dental problems

Muscle problems

Your work is important, but not as important as your health.

You need to be at your best

Leading effectively is hard work. To do it well requires that you are alert, present, and thinking clearly. To be at the top of your game demands your energy and stamina. Relaxation is the way to get to all of these characteristics. Or, stated another way, tension and stress – the opposite of relaxed – won’t get you there.

Your organisation needs your best. Your team deserves your best. And you want to do your best. Can you get there the way you are leading today?

The complete absence of stressor  tension is unrealistic – the rightamounts at the right times can heighten performance and results, but leaders could likely benefit if they were a bit more relaxed.

By Kevin Eikenberry
Published with permission from the International Institute of Directors and Managers – 
(IIDM) –


Proteus Leadership is one of Australia’s premier leadership training and development companies. Proteus Leadership provides leadership courses and management training to a range of industries and assists organisations to build positive workplace cultures, implement change and Create Great Leaders. Proteus also facilitates a range of world-class management courses, workshops, conferences and events across Australia and beyond with the sole purpose of bringing leaders together to connect and grow.

“Our core purpose is to Create Great Leaders that will in turn build Great companies and develop Great teams.”