Four Techniques To Overcome The Leadership Blues

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:


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.


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.


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.


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?

8 thoughts on “Four Techniques To Overcome The Leadership Blues

  1. Appreciate your advice to clear the clutter and delete the crap. Part of the overwhelm is all of the things in our periphery that’s taking up both physical and mental space. The start of the year is the perfect time to clear that away so you can focus in on what matters most with less stress and distraction. It’s not busy work or procrastination to get rid of those things – it’s essential.

    Will share!


  2. Great point Alli that leaders can get stuck with the clutter in their minds too. We can do a number on psyching ourselves out with the amount of work we have to deliver and then we are often paralyzed to make a move forward. Being clear on our vision and priorities can help us navigate our direction more effectively.

    Thanks Alli!

  3. A very timely post for me, Terri. I met with a woman today who is in a dither about all she needs to get done in January—she’s paralyzed by the load she’s carrying. We unloaded it all and then identified priorities. She saw that one was unavoidable and very important. Once she understood that the other priorities had to wait until the first one was completed, she was able to breath a sigh of relief. Still lots to do after January, but now there is a plan…great article and I will share with my network.

  4. Happy New Year Terri! Thank you for the great reminders! #4 made me smile. It is so important to learn from others. And most people I know are very willing to help someone else. And yet it is an area that many people (self included) struggle.

  5. Prioritizing our workload can be a very empowering action for leaders. It helps us see what is both important and urgent.
    Thanks so much LaRae for adding your insights!

  6. It can be so empowering to learn as skill or lesson from another leader. Reaching out to others is critical when we are feeling the leadership blues. I have found that trusted mentors and colleagues can give me perspective and help me overcome whatever I am experiencing.

    Thanks Chery!

  7. Prioritizing helps us see what is really important and not just what tasks we need to perform. There are so many wonderful systems to prioritize but I have found taking time to focus on what will help us move closer our vision and goals the most helpful.

    Thanks Cynthia for sharing your thoughts!

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