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The 3 Reasons Why Leaders Feel Overwhelmed And What To Do About It

April 14, 2014

masteryofselfI was recently interviewed for Ignite magazine on the impact of technology on leaders and how it is increasing the sense of ‘overwhelm’ for many leaders.

One of the questions was why technology is causing more stress not less and the answer is actually quite simple- because people are the ones experiencing the stress! Fundamentally a change in how we work and live requires an adaptation and an ability to evolve and reorganize to the next level of perception.

Technology is simply a tool, just like an axe or a shovel were the original ‘technologies’. How we choose to use the tool is determined by ourselves.

The three reasons leaders leaders are overwhelmed right now are:

#1- Becoming a slave to the perception that because of technology we must be ‘on’ 24/7 and that if we are not we are somehow ineffective, missing out or not on top of things. The truth is WE have the power to control how much time we give to anything and that includes technology.

What do do?

So what do we do about this one? Well we manage the technology to suit our needs. For example I have a CEO client who has alerts on everything on her smart phone, her phone is constantly beeping, tweeting, ringing and I AM STRESSED just sitting in a meeting with her. I suggested she put all her alerts on silent but have the ‘visual’ text alerts so she doesn’t miss what is crucial information. Just by changing this small thing she experienced less stress and less of a sense of being ‘on alert’ all of the time.

#2- Feeling that unless we ourselves do something it won’t get done to the level of perfection we would like. The CEO’s that I coach are all highly successful because they get things done. His or her ability to envision a goal, set tangible steps and achieve an outcome are the very skills that make a successful leader. However the dark side of this skill is the perpetual belief that no none else could possibly do as good a job as he or she the CEO could do. The trap of this one is that the CEO will subconsciously set up scenarios where others fail because he or she set unrealistic expectations or worse did not communicate and set up others to succeed.

What to do?

My advice on this one? JUST STOP IT! The cycle of having to do everything because you believe no one else can will tap you out and max out your success. The most successful CEO’s I know have learned (albeit not without struggle) to coach/teach and leverage the people on his or her team. The moment this transition happens the CEO experiences tremendous freedom and time to focus on higher leverage items. True success as a leader is helping others to succeed and grow.

#3- Moving, doing and ‘being on’ all of the time. We are not machines, we require space and time to ‘detox’ the mind from technology and the speed of life and work. I have stated in previous articles and posts that the most important skill for the next decade is the ability to adapt and that includes taking time to be still, to reflect and to recharge. A colleague of mine was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer- he is fighting and working to be a success story with the diagnosis and he admits that this event has forced him to take time out.

What to do?

My suggestion on this one? Adapt or ???? You must we all must take the time to plan and create time blocks in our days for restorative activities. Personally I meditate, do network spinal analysis, read inspiring text, listen to uplifting music, walk in nature, toss the ball with my dog, talk to inspiring people, and spend time enjoying life. I would not be able to do what I do if I did not ‘refill myself’ with these things. Here’s the thing the email, the task, the text, the social media will all be there when you get back to it. If social media has infiltrated your time take a break- I am on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram a few times a day but do not feel that I am a slave to it.

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