Ever feel like you're stuck in the weeds, burned out, and overwhelmed in your leadership role? Feel like you could "own it" more fully?
Afraid that if you stop involving yourself in the work, the quality won't be good enough, and you'll fail your office? Or maybe, deep down, you worry that you won't be an authentic leader in your craft. Your days will be filled with meetings instead of opportunities to be creative and solve problems.
But maybe you can't "turn off" work at night with your family and loved ones…. And you worry that if some crisis came up in your family, or you got pregnant, you wouldn't be able to keep all the balls in the air anymore.
There is a pathway to be less busy and overwhelmed, trust your staff more, and stay involved with the issues that excite you professionally.
You can direct your energy towards leading without giving up the creative problem solving you love and be more present for your family—or life outside of work.
Over the last few years, I've coached and taught more than 200 creatives and leaders. Here's what I've learned:
1. Write down all your responsibilities.
If you can't even bring them to mind, keep a notebook on you for two to three days and write down everything you do for two or three days.
2. Identify the leadership activities you do.
You may find you're not getting to them very often; if so, jot down what you would be doing every week if you were to push forward your leadership agenda and drive results.
3. Identify the activities that fill you up, whether they're leadership tasks or individual contributor tasks.
All the other tasks—the ones that aren't leadership-driven or don't fill you up—start handing them over to others. If this scares you, start with the tasks that feel “most delegatable” and move to the ones that feel harder to transfer, one by one.
4. Fill your week with leadership tasks and a small amount of the individual contributor tasks that fill you up.
It doesn't make sense for you to do all of the project work, but that doesn't mean you can't have a small project on your plate. Or maybe you're involved with the phase of the project that you like best.
Sometimes that big life change or crisis is a "wake-up call" that something needs to shift, and you need to get out of the weeds… but you don't need to wait for a wake-up call to make these changes so you can genuinely lead instead of feeling burned out and overwhelmed.