Thursday, September 6, 2012
Lately I’ve been hearing heard a common theme amongst many of the senior leaders I coach and that is: they are tired, frustrated, overwhelmed and overworked. Maybe it’s the time of year but many of these leaders feel they have little control over how they spend and manage their time since they are regularly responding to urgent “requests” from their executive leadership team. And, more often than not, these requests are not something they can delegate to their direct reports. As you may be able to understand, these leaders are in fire-fighting mode more often than they want (or need) to be.
So, what can you do to stop the feeling of overwhelm, which leads to the tiredness and frustration? There are two things you can do to alleviate this situation. First, you must prioritize. Clearly there are only 24 hours in a day so you have to be the leader who knows what the priorities are and decide what truly is urgent and what can wait for another time. Chances are you effectively prioritize for your team so why not do this for yourself as well? Yes, I know… your boss called and has a new urgent priority that now sits with the four other urgent tasks you were already working on, right? Not everything can be top priority urgent and something must fall below the most urgent of all the urgent priorities. As the leader you must decide what must shift to make time for the new priority so everything can be done in a quality manner. This often means you need to pushback, which is the second thing you can do to alleviate the sense of overwhelm. Yes, I said you must pushback on your boss (or whomever is handing out the urgent requests). I know that pushing back on someone more senior than you is not always an easy thing to do and so I will be using next weeks blog post as well as my September newsletter article to address this topic of how to effectively and successfully pushback on your boss (and those more senior than you). This is an essential skill to master, along with prioritization, so that you can stop surrendering control of your time, stop feeling overworked and overwhelmed, and get back to being the calm, strategic, and inspiring leader that you are.
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