Too Busy To Lead!

One of the most frequently expressed frustrations I get from both young and seasoned leaders is the difficulty in striking a balance between getting their work done and leading their team. This isn’t an issue I take lightly when coaching because these frustrations are real and cause potential leaders to burn out, give up, or feel like they’ve failed.

The cause of this frustration is usually due to the leader still thriving on individual execution yet having a heart for impacting others. This is VERY HEALTHY! As opposed to some leaders who thrive off of execution yet have little awareness or concern for how they are impacting their team’s personal and professional growth. Be affirmed that your aggravation with this temporary imbalance is healthy. I love seeing this frustration in leaders because this trait often reveals a maturing leader who has both head and heart smarts.

Here are a few mishaps that may exist in the work habits or in a company environment that can actually hinder and pressure a leader’s focus to lead.

Managing instead of leading.

Does your brain filter and prioritize the tasks you need to get done first? What’s on your mind most: things you have to do or coaching conversations you need to have with your team? Prioritize the team first then tackle your tasks. This short-term sacrifice must happen for long-term leader balance and transition.

The perfectionist.

You struggle with letting go. After all, no one else can do the job as good as you, and it’s just faster to just do it yourself! Ha-ha, spoken like a reformed perfectionist!

Perfectionists need to learn how to give it away. This is a fact. Every time I have a female leader go on maternity leave, both the leader and their teammates grow. Teammates grow because projects are dispersed and they have the opportunity to shine. The leader learns from the experience because when they return they see multiplied performance and production.

Being in the Rut Race.

You have goals, and you aim to meet them. You have an event, a project, a task, or a deadline to meet. You get it accomplished and off you run to the next one. The rut race is a fast-paced, run hard, get-to-the-finish-line-first atmosphere. When you reach the finish line you feel accomplishment. Then you simply go to the next starting line for yet another race. There’s not much time for anything else because the rut race is a constant starting line to finish line sprint. Every leader and every company experiences it, and the longer you stay there the more difficult it is to get out of the rut.

The company values and rewards your individual production more than your leadership responsibilities.

A top producer is often honored with a new title and team. Crazy enough, their position isn’t redefined, the company is still expecting the same performance from them and in their spare time they now get to lead others who are looking to them for guidance.

These mishaps are real life! I’ve not only seen them happen, but I’ve played a role in allowing each to happen. Do you identify with any of these? In future posts I’ll dive deeper into the mishaps you’re curious about. If you have a personal favorite please let me know, and I’ll start in order of popularity.


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  • Chris Tunstall says:

    Linda, this highly resonates with me and the leaders I work with. Many of the leaders are “maxed” out with the work, limited resources and the technological distractions on a daily basis. I have witnessed that exercise, proper nutrition, recovery and eliminating multi-tasking has helped many leaders be able to balance and more importantly prioritize…Love to hear other thoughts…

  • Laurie says:

    Another great one Linda! You always make me question myself.. Ok so I struggle with the perfectionist! I overcame the managing instead of leading several years ago, with some developer leadership! Any Sass advice is always welcomed!

    • Linda Sasser says:

      That’s the mishap I am hitting first Laurie! Stay tuned I’ll post it on Sunday night. If you have any specific thoughts or questions toss them to me.

  • Katie says:

    Another great post LS! I think people also fall into these mishaps and are “too busy to grow” as well. Thank you for sharing your passion and wisdom with us!

    • Linda Sasser says:

      Katie you’re right. That’s what the “rut race” will create. It’s like a diet. We want to, but it takes discipline and typically we are on again off again. But like a good diet if we can get to the habit stage it is so much easier.

      Thanks for your comment!!! Would love your thoughts as I get into the upcoming mishaps.

  • Rebecca says:

    One of the best ever – and one so many can truly identify with – another reason why I’m on fire for “leadership with Sass!” Thanks for you.