Joanne Love

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Sage advice on leadership performance from an 8-year-old.

Sage advice on



Having worked with young children for most of my life, and having two children of my own, I have been blown away by some of the comments that flow so innocently from their mouths. Some are downright funny, while others can be so very insightful with little or no understanding about the logic or rational behind the statements they make.


Leaders could learn a lot from these innocent remarks as they invest great time and effort in to improving their performance. Leadership is the fundamental catalyst, which brings all business resources together, and makes them shine. Leaders will keep up to date with latest developments in leadership theory and methodology to maximise their effectiveness, but often if they just look to undertake some simple tasks, their leadership performance could benefit greatly.


As the saying goes “out of the mouths of babes” here is one truly wonderful, but simple lesson that can benefit our leadership performance.


Every summer vacation, you grow a little bit, you figure something out that you like more, and it kinda just, makes you more mature”. (8 year old, Male)



A vacation creates growth?


A young person’s summer vacation can be anywhere up to 6 weeks long, but for those in leadership, there would be very few who allow themselves to take the full annual allotment, and definitely not, all in one go. In fact, “Project: Time Off” (2016) found that only 45% of American’s used their full allotment, each year, and the figures are getting worse, yearly.




Many in leadership positions take shorter breaks in the belief that, if they step away from the office for too long, something untoward may happen. Or worse still, they believe that the workplace can’t run properly without them. A leader’s vacation break could be just the opportunity to help employees to grow. Leaders need to create an environment in which their people can thrive. They need to look beyond their own personal goals and create an environment where employees are mentored and people are fostered to evolve. A good leader must challenge their employees, helping them to see what they may be capable of, and in doing so, stretching their skills, and making them more valued workplace contributors in the future.


Are you creating an environment where people feel like what they do matters?


Sheryl Sandberg sums it up, saying “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence."


A vacation promotes maturity, too


Leaders grow and mature, when we are escape our everyday environment. Are leaders doing themselves a disservice by taking shorter breaks, which don’t provide the opportunity to relax, recover and smell the roses? Regardless of the type of vacation you take, shorter breaks just don’t allow the opportunity for your brain to become fully rested. A longer break will not only leave you more rested, but cultivate an increase in productivity and see you being able to perform at a higher level going forward. In fact, current research is showing that the brain needs at least two weeks to fully recover from any sort of burnout.

For many, vacation time, allows us to pursue our other interests, it is when we are most open to exploration, be it new experiences, new environments or even tasting new foods. This frame of mind, opens the pathway for creativity allowing us to identify and discover new ideas that might be worth exploring when we return to work. So, instead of brain following its same old mental pathways, it is creating new cognitive routes that will allow future growth, and maturity around many aspects in your current world. These new mental processes could be your competitive advantage, especially when agility and innovation are key players in today’s world.


“You figure something out you like more” (8 year old, Male)


One of today’s leadership challenges, is allowing yourself time to reflect and review. Leaders are always in demand, no longer is their time or attention for the luxury of pondering the long-term view of their organisation. Yet, it is a critical element required in leadership today.


This is where taking vacation time could give us the success with our leadership. A distraction-free environment, whether it be laying under a palm tree on a beach front, or enjoying a meal with our love ones; this space will provide the vital time needed to reflect and review on what we have done so far, on what we need to do next, and what will be required of us going forward.


Leaving you with a thought from child prodigy Adora Svitak who explains, that the world sometimes needs "childish" thinking to allow us to perform better without getting so hung up on our preconceived adult expectations. Maybe our performances would be better in so many areas, if we are open to “learn from children as much as to teach."


Good luck on your journey!




Joanne Love is known internationally for delivering thinking that is "out of the box." As an elite swimming coach, Joanne has experienced first hand what it's like to be one of the few females in a male dominated environment. Joanne has represented Australia at the highest level, including inclusion on the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Teams. These experiences led Joanne into obtaining a degree in psychology and now works with differing sporting organisations to maximise performance at all levels.


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