A friend of mine mentioned that her colleague was struggling at work. She is feeling a bit defeated and concerned that maybe they weren’t cut out to be a leader in her organization. My friend said they were very talented but is going through a rough spot and asked if I had any advice.
Here is my advice:
- If a colleague feels overwhelmed and depressed, tell them to ask for help. Many of the executives I work with, myself included, are under tremendous pressure. The pandemic has created a lot of stress and anxiety. The economic forecasts are scary. The people that we work with are also under a massive amount of stress and pressure. When things get like this, you cannot handle it by yourself. Go to friends, family, and, if need be, professionals. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help. It’s actually very courageous. One of my favorite quotes is, “Everyone is fighting a mighty battle you know nothing about.”
- Tell them to look at their life and determine what they can control and is out of their control. Then, the goal is to take massive action on the things you can control and, as much as possible, completely let go of the things you cannot. Many people work themselves into a frenzy trying to control things they never will. Developing this ability is challenging but life-changing.
- I recently did a post on a thing called “imposter syndrome.” The feeling that you are not qualified to do what you are doing. The belief that fate, luck, or chance put you in your position and that you don’t deserve to be there. Many leaders suffer from imposter syndrome in relation to their leadership abilities.
- Ask them to do a thoughtful analysis of the situation. What has changed? Where precisely is the pressure coming from? Is it something that they are causing or someone else is causing? Has something changed in the organization that is impacting them? There are a lot of different things that could be playing a role in their concerns. It’s impossible to fix something if you don’t know what is broken.
- It feels selfish, but self-care is critical. You can’t give away what you don’t have. Let them know it’s essential to take care of their health. Ask them to be good to themself. If they doesn’t take care of themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally – they cannot take care of anybody else. This is a crucial idea.
- I have found that setting aside time each day to focus on the things I’m grateful for has been extremely beneficial. It’s been tough on everybody the last few years. It’s easy to get caught up in all the problems and challenges. But when I spend time thinking about the great things in my life, it helps put things into perspective.
- Suggest that she read some books or watch videos on leadership to both gain confidence from what she is doing well and possibly pick up a few ideas for improvement.
- Ask them to reflect on when things were going great. Moments when they was doing a superb job as a leader. Recalling these times will help them remember that they have been very successful as a leader and will be again in the future.
- This last one is important. Ask them to take some time to think about why they are doing what they are doing. What about their work is meaningful? How are they positively impacting other people’s lives? What motivates them about the mission of the organization? One of the main motivators is connecting your personal vision, purpose, and goals to that of the organization. When they are aligned, it can be very energizing. If they are not aligned, it is a sign that they might be in the wrong place.
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