Why You Need Moments of Margin

Are you taking a step away?


Brad Lomenick, author of H3 Leadership and former president and executive director of Catalyst, says one of the most important things a leader can do is to take a break from work. A crazy thought in a day of constant communication and instant connection.

He calls these breaks “moments of margin,” or times when you aren’t grinding away. Brad says that, “Margin allows us to refuel enough that we can charge back up and then go higher, go faster, go further.”

How are you recharging your batteries? Watch this video to learn how getting away can help you be a better leader.

Moments of margin, both personally and organizationally. Moments of margin organizationally would be the times when you go, like you're able to breath. Moments of margin personally, many times look like vacation, they look like rest, they actually look like sleep, they look like weekends, they look like Sabbath. And type A driven ambitious leaders struggle with moments of margin because we think we're losing the race. We think if we allow for a margin, that we're actually getting behind and it's just the opposite. Margin allows us to get ahead.

Margin allows us to refuel enough that we can charge back up and then go higher, go faster, go further. If you're a NASCAR racer, you have to put a little bit of the brake on before you can go around the corner. Otherwise you run into the wall. Redlining a car, constantly for an engine it can go quite a while, if you red line it but after a while it's going to blow up. Something is going to explode. Something is going to go wrong. Leaders are the same way.

Organizations are the same way. Teams are the same way. I mean, I pride at myself as a leader on, I can red line further than anybody else in the world. I will out distance you, I'll out work you, I'll out gut you, as Dabo Swinney the coach of Clemson says, "BYOG, bring your own guts." I can bring my own guts for a long time, but after a while that will go away. I'll crash. Margin keeps me from crashing.

If we don't have margin in our life, then a friend who has no margin can't respond to other friends who need time with them. A family who has no margin, ends up not having shared moments, that are vacations or opportunities to create memories. Obviously companies that have no margins, they can't respond to new things. They can't start new businesses, they can't actually grow their organizations because they have no profit. So margin is something we have to have in order to continue to grow.

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