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Leadership doesn't mean sacrifice

Are you a “survivor” leader? The one remaining after big changes, wave of layoffs, merger and/or company restructuring?

A while ago I interviewed a group of leaders diverse in terms of gender, nationality, seniority, and organization type and size. We talked about their and their team’s wellbeing, stress factors that have the biggest impact on them and then opportunities they use to address and reduce the stress. I asked about the support system available to them, and the amount of time they allocate to activities like thinking and analyzing, self-care, coaching or approach optimization strategy.

The answers clearly show that the majority finds it hard to resist racing ahead and “preventing backlog”.

While they recognize the value of strategy and self-care, the never-ending flow of requests and things to do makes it almost impossible to allocate quiet time on a regular basis. Some leaders admitted they have it blocked in their calendars but then use it to catch up on overdue tasks. Others do the thinking and self-development “after work”.

And this was during ‘normal’ times, less shaky and uncertain.

New structures, new team members, new strategy, and all the smaller and bigger daily tasks and challenges, often unfamiliar ones – all this together is a heavy lift that you’ll need to lift.

To do it, you need strength, resilience, and clear mind. And these are built, it’s a process.

Don’t forget about yourself during the change. You are important. You not only deal with your own personal challenges, you are a leader, others rely on you and look up to you.

So, if you’re tempted to dismiss your own needs, believing they’re less important than everything else happening around you, think about the quality of support you will be able to provide to your team and company when you will feel calmer, and more mentally equipped to lead through the change.

Don’t burn yourself out during the process of fixing, helping and filling the gaps. Find time to get support, discuss, brainstorm, vent and strategize. It will help you now, and in the future. It’s an investment that pays off quickly.

I’ve been there, and now I support leaders on their journey. And I can tell you – it makes a huge difference.

Use this coming week to observe yourself and the way you operate. Is it healthy? Sustainable? How do you feel at the end of the day?

Then, use your insights to make adjustments. You can and you deserve it. You are important. So treat yourself this way.


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