Business Coach

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 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.


The True Cost of Culture Divestment

’ve physically pulled the plug on the idiot box (tv), and now only watch about 7 hrs/wk. However, whenever I do turn it on, it never ceases to amaze me. This week’s bizarre-ity . . . Riley Cooper.

Eagles’ wide receiver Riley Cooper has truly gotten himself into the deep end of the culture pool. After a tirade of racial slurs at a concert (and yes, it was recorded – you play in the NFL man), Mr. Cooper has been apologizing all over Planet Earth. And I do believe he’s sorry. However, here’s the collateral damage:

  • undisclosed NFL fines ($$$$)
  • team fines ($$$$)
  • broken trust from team members (you’re a wide receiver with an African-American quarterback, dude)
  • broken trust with the team’s leadership (possible trade talk)
  • broken trust with the team’s fans (decrease ticket sales)
  • lost customer loyalty (internal and external)
  • personal shame, guilt and anguish
  • loss of respect from his local community (Philly’s pretty diverse)

In a recent conference I attended (before this news broke), one consultant said, “Culture will eat strategy for lunch!”, and this is living proof.

While Mr. Cooper committed the act, he created a Philadelphia Eagles problem, not just a personal one.

The real question is, Do You have a Riley Cooper on your team?

How would you know if you did?

How much are you really investing to increase the culture in your organization? (otherwise, you’re divesting)

It might be a really good idea to take the first steps to do so.

The 5-Second Rule for New Leaders

With food, the 5-second rule applies to folklore we’ve assigned to how we disregard the germs near the food we drop. The same is true with new leaders.

Don’t we drop some pretty important things in the beginning that we wish we could pick back up before it turns bad (poor communication, self esteem, adversity to risk, trust, etc.)?

Here are 3 Things you should apply the 5-Second Rule to in a new leadership role (to keep the germs away):

1. Fly-by-the-Seat-of Your-Pants Leadership. Do you ever feel you’re overcompensating, trying to look good in front of the boss on 19 different projects? Key: Learn delegation, and apply it regularly.

2. Master these words: “I think I’m right, but who has a better approach?”

3. The Discipline of Execution. Simply put, meet the deadline with outstanding results. Don’t plan as much as you execute, but be willing to course-correct and apply the lessons to the next “thing”.

These 3 areas will give you to the gall to focus on solutions, create your brand, and improve with every 5-second drop, without pissing off the C-Suite.