Greatness begins with awareness.

Leaders Feeling Overwhelmed: A Simple Aid That Goes A Long Way

Many senior leaders report feeling overwhelmed. They are stretched in too many ways and directions. Their days have become too long and exhausting. Meetings fill up their working hours to the point they must catch up on other work in the evenings. This is especially overwhelming for leaders who are also balancing their kids’ activities and schoolwork.

So, what can you do to manage overwhelm in leadership and get some control back in your days?


You must start by setting realistic goals for each day. Why?

Psychologically, there is nothing more exhausting than setting a list of to-do’s for the day and not getting to half of them. The failed expectation contributes greatly to the overwhelm across leaders and their employees.

This is true for everyone and particularly for people who are extremely process-oriented; they need to complete tasks as incompletion is mentally exhausting for them.


Keeping in mind the vision, strategy, and overall goals for your leadership role and team, take a good look at your to-do list and define what is a:

  • YES: A must do. Include a realistic date for its completion.
  • NO: Not now. Set a date when it can be addressed.
  • NO: Never. These are the clear NOs, the stuff that you are not going to address as it does not contribute to the team’s vision.

Do this every day. Think of the Nos as setting boundaries. In some situations, you might be able to say no with grace and without explanation. In other instances, you may need to explain why you are not going to address a specific topic or task.

In an age where everything seems urgent, this exercise may appear difficult at first. You may overshoot on what’s realistic. Just keep at it and recalibrate your list accordingly.

With practice, this exercise will help you narrow down the focus on the actual priorities and make your days as a leader feel less overwhelming. If the list is overflowing, think about who can help you and your team. What can you delegate? Are there lower-level employees who can be elevated and are ready to deliver at a higher level? Are there teams that work with your team and can take on some of the deliveries?


Your goal as a leader is to ensure the most important tasks get done without burning yourself and your team out in the process, so everyone can be on their game to do their best work.

Gather your team at the start of a project or every month and get everyone aligned on what is key and what is not. Set the example.

This can go a long way in lowering the overwhelming fevered pitch many leaders and teams are experiencing. Knowing the priorities – at a team and individual level – is a huge support for people who have too much on their plate and don’t even know where to start.

You will be amazed by how much it enables people to settle down, get focused, and get the key objectives accomplished in less time.

So, what are your YESes and NOs for now?

If you find yourself having trouble thinking through what the priorities are, how to delegate more, or how to set clearer boundaries, let’s talk. I’d love to help you make your leadership role less overwhelming.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Similar Posts

New Year…Real You

Here we are again, a new calendar year in front of us. For many, it is a clean slate to reinvent themselves and their worlds. How about you? What if this became the year you finally make your life and work world a better fit for you, without having to limit yourself...

read more


Reach new heights in the role you love by bringing more of what’s amazing about you into it.


Learn how to work together in the most productive way by leveraging the strengths of every person on the team.

Subscribe to Susan’s Blog

Learn how to work from your greatest strengths

Share This