How to Snap Out of Your Leadership StruggleIt happens to every leader at some point in his or her career - a vague unhappiness with your job, frustration with circumstances beyond your control, a sense that no matter how hard you work, nothing much is getting done. It’s all part of what executive coach Mary Jo Asmus calls the leadership struggle, and while getting out of that struggle may not be easy, change is possible.

In a post for Smart Blog on Leadership, Asmus outlines steps you can take to ease leadership struggle, “clearing your heart and your mind for making decisions and taking action that will send you on your way to greatness.”

Eight Steps to Take to Snap Out of Your Leadership Struggle

Take a Vacation

Chances are you have vacation time waiting to be used. “Travel and R&R are great ways to get your energy back,” Asmus notes. “Your organization won’t fall apart, and you’ll come back to work with renewed energy and new ideas.”

Expand Your Range of Knowledge

Pursue a new hobby or take a class. This helps you “to focus on something else and perhaps generate fresh ideas for moving upward.”

Build a Support Group

Look to friends, colleagues and family members who can offer encouragement during your struggle. With a “mastermind group of peers,” you can get support and inspiration and reciprocate as well to others in need.

Hire a Coach

If you have “a sensation of inability to move forward with goals or a sense of being ‘stuck,’” an executive coach may offer a way out of the rut “that is customized for you.”

Take Small Steps

“Sometimes it only takes a small step to start to get out of your struggle,” Asmus says. Think about where you can start and what first small step you can take to change your situation. “Take that step and those that follow may be easier.”

Take Care of Your Health

Your leadership struggle may be related to how well you’re taking care of yourself. Pay attention to what you eat, the amount of sleep you’re getting and your level of regular exercise. “Your struggle may be eased and overcome when you take care of yourself.”

Learn From Other Leaders

You can learn about coping strategies by observing other leaders in times of crisis. “Better yet, observe other leaders at their best,” Asmus says. “Sometimes ‘trying out’ something you observe them doing effectively” offers insights into dealing with your own struggles.

Focus On the Needs of Others

“When you struggle, you’re focused inward on yourself.” One way out of that struggle is by turning your attention to the needs of others. Helping people overcome hardship (whether it’s advising a family member or providing community service) may help put your own struggle into perspective, “making it less ominous.” The good feeling that comes with helping others will certainly give you renewed strength to conquer your leadership struggle.

How do you cope with your leadership struggles?

How Can Leaders Avoid Burnout: Part TwoYesterday we began our two-part series on how leaders can avoid burnout.

It began with a Forbes article that discussed 10 tips on the very topic.

They included:

  1. Get in the Right Mindset
  2. Establish Fair Expectations
  3. Make Progress with Small Steps
  4. Keep Your Goals in Mind
  5. Prioritize What You Do Best
  6. Create a Support Team
  7. Set Strong Boundaries
  8. Shake Up Your Routine
  9. Indulge Guilty Pleasures—Daily
  10. Take Time Off

Ten Ways Leaders Can Avoid Burnout

We started with the first five in yesterday's post. Today we'll explore the second five.

Create a Support Team

The support team isn't an internal team. Some people call it an advisory board and others call it coffee with friends. Think about who you know and what types of things they do really well. Then devise a list of questions and invite them to coffee. If you want something a little more formal, consider an executive group such as Vistage.

Set Strong Boundaries

You are the only one who can set those boundaries...and your team members will follow suit. There is a CEO in Canada who has a rule that no emails are to be sent or received after 5 p.m. He says it took about six weeks for people to get used to it, and now there is a flurry of activity at 4:45 each day, but his team members are much more productive because of it.

Shake Up Your Routine

While routine can make you productive, if you only sit at your desk all day, every day, you'll easily bore. Take meetings outside of the office. Do a walk-around every morning and talk to team members. Get out of your chair.

Indulge Guilty Pleasures

It's easy to focus and work all day and suddenly 12 hours have gone by. But all work and no play makes for a very boring leader. Even if you have to break up your day by watching a funny video or two, it's a welcome brain break that will make you even more productive.

Take Time Off

Some leaders don't work weekends. Others wait and take two week vacations. Whatever works for you, make sure you have scheduled time off that does not include meetings, phone calls, or emails.

Do you agree with these 10 tips? What works for you?

How Can Leaders Avoid Burnout: Part OneLeaders in their quest to move the business forward, get to the point where they exhaust themselves. The business they started with passion is eating all their time, they work more hours and days without taking time off.

This article in Forbes talks about how leaders can avoid burnout.

We're certainly in a position to be doing more with less...and have been for a few years now. So what are we to do about it?


Ten Ways Leaders Can Avoid Burnout

Well, the article's author suggested 10 tips:

  1. Get in the Right Mindset
  2. Establish Fair Expectations
  3. Make Progress with Small Steps
  4. Keep Your Goals in Mind
  5. Prioritize What You Do Best
  6. Create a Support Team
  7. Set Strong Boundaries
  8. Shake Up Your Routine
  9. Indulge Guilty Pleasures—Daily
  10. Take Time Off

Today and tomorrow we'll explore each.

Get in the Right Mindset

Leading, and growing, a business is a marathon. Just like training for such a race, you need to have strong and long weeks with taper weeks and rest days in between. During the next 30 days, choose three days that you aren't going to take any meetings, phone calls, or interruptions. You're at your desk solely to get things accomplished. Those can be considered your long runs.

Establish Fair Expectations

By now you're accustomed to forecasting and re-forecasting and re-forecasting again. Be fair in your expectations, both of yourself and of your team members. Be aggressive, but not unrealistic.

Make Progress with Small Steps

There are business leaders who set aside one day a week to work on the business, instead of in it. The appointment is on their calendars and nothing gets in the way of it. It may take a little bit longer to accomplish things this way, but some entrepreneurs have been able to launch a second business using their one day a week mantra.

Keep Your Goals In Mind

It's easy to be distracted by the economy, the shiny newest tool in social media, or the latest customer fire. If you know what your goals are for leading the business, you'll make more informed decisions when under pressure.

Prioritize What You Do Best

It's sometimes easier to just do things yourself, but does that mean you're the best person for the job? It may be as tactical as sitting at your desk, outlining everything on your to-do list, and determining who is the best person in your office to do the job. If you don't have someone to do something, such as administrative work, consider outsourcing.

Tomorrow we'll explore the last five tips. In the meantime, are there tips you have that work well for you, as a leader?

Stupid Workplace Rules Can Hurt Your BusinessStupid workplace rules—those senseless bureaucratic policies and red tape common to many organizations—are a hassle for everyone involved.

Managers don’t like having to enforce stupid workplace rules.

Employees resent having to obey them.

While some policies are non-negotiable, particularly those relating to workplace safety, it’s worth thinking about those rules that complicate the workplace, rather than enhance it.

In an article for Open Forum, contributor Bruna Martinuzzi asks, “What can you do to make sense of workplace rules? What are some rules that you should consider and what rules do you need to discard?”

Here are some suggestions:


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