For some leaders this is a challenging time of year with snowstorms and cold temperatures. Daylight hours are shorter which may cause us to feel a little down or even less ambitious. I know there is a psychological condition for individuals who suffer severely with this disorder but for many of us it is just that time of year we are quite familiar. As leaders we know we need to start off the year strong with our goals front and center. It’s not that we aren’t excited about our work ahead it’s just the thought of gearing up that can be a bit daunting.
Speaking with a young leader this past week and listening to her concerns about the year ahead got me to thinking about the leadership blues. She wanted to do a great job but her workload seemed unmanageable and unattainable. She felt there was no one to turn to and ask for help yet was being held accountable for all her projects.
Do you have a touch of the leadership blues?
Here are four techniques to overcome the leadership blues:
1. KNOW YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY LEADER FEELING THIS WAY
It’s natural to see the beginning of the year as a huge plate of projects and commitments. Many leaders are faced with deliverables that were not completed in the previous year or need adjustment to move forward. That means we need to shake-off the holiday spirit and reframe our thinking to a leadership mindset. So just admit that you are feeling stuck and you aren’t the only one.
2. UNCLUTTER YOUR MIND AND DESK TO THINK CLEARLY
For leaders to see through their overwhelming new year workload they must first develop clear thinking patterns. Some helpful ways to begin to cleanse are:
- Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for reaching this wonderful new year.
- Carve out a day to clean off your desk, putting things in order and tossing out unimportant papers or information you have lying around.
- Go through your inbox and delete emails that have been resolved or are not of interest to you any longer. Do the same with your text messages.
- Remind yourself that you can begin the year with a clean slate and a fresh set of eyes.
3. IDENTIFY THE REAL PRIORITIES
Now comes a little work to launch your year right. Remind yourself of your leadership vision for this coming year while at the same time honoring your company’s goals too.
- Choose three priorities to begin the year, keeping in mind your vision and goals.
- Remember that a priority isn’t necessarily the most urgent choice if it is not important too.
- After writing out each priority, list the steps needed to achieve it.
- Decide on realistic timeframes to achieve your priorities.
4. CALL IN THE EXPERTS FOR HELP
One sure way to overcome the leadership blues is reaching out to an experienced colleague or boss who may have more knowledge with a problem you may be facing. People enjoy sharing their stories and struggles if they feel they are being helpful. Many leaders are fearful of asking for guidance because they worry they should have all the skills and information. Not true. Great leaders know that learning is a lifelong process and they will grow their leadership through their reaching out.
How have you overcome the leadership blues?