7 Tips to Overcome Leadership Overwhelm

NLO (New Leader Overwhelm) is real.

And it’s here to stay.

Try to remember:

  • your first 90 days in a leadership role;
  • your eagerness to please your new team;
  • your internal mental battles to be fair & firm;
  • your successful strategy of staying later than you wanted 4 days/week;

Is there a solution? A remedy? A plan?

According to a Forbes.com article, 2/3 of today’s employees feel overwhelmed. That’s 66%! 66%! That’s almost everyone!

But, there’s hope.

I’ve learned some pretty valuable lessons in my own multitude of failures as a new leader, as well as from the shoulders of the giant leaders I’ve been mentored by. Here they are:

  1. Admit that overwhelm is real. Senior leadership often catches what I like to callselective amnesia. They forget what it’s like to be in a new leadership role. Embrace the feeling of not knowing it all. You have the ability to learn. That’s why you were selected.
  2. Find an unstoppable circle. You need a team to help you develop. You cannot do it alone. Create alliances with 5 people (2 inside the organization, 3 outside) so you can download and be recharged to lead even better.
  3. Plan. Get in the habit of planning for the next day BEFORE you leave the office. This little tip alone cuts your morning stress in half.
  4. Execute better than you plan. Leadership is all about getting things (the right things) done efficiently (the right way). Get into action.
  5. Listen to the unsaid words. Engage with your staff frequently. How much is frequently? At least weekly. Gauge their contributions to policies, service, processes, and your communication. Develop alligator like skin, and commit to improve.
  6. Adjust. Have the courage to change tradition. I often hear from CEO’s: We do it this way because it’s been done this way for 13 years, and it works.” And I simply ask: “So why am I here?” Develop the knack to know when things need to be modified, develop a case for change, and CHANGE.
  7. Continuously Improve. There are bound to be times that you fall short. Accept it. You’re human. Learn quickly from the shortcoming by tracing your steps, finding the gap, and filling it better next time.

Using these tips can not only help you lean in to the curve of new leadership, they will also foster a new normal in the way you leap to the next level. Have the courage to overcome the overwhelm.

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