Managing Smart: Surviving Leadership Fatigue

Thursday, April 15, 2021

It’s no secret that, after the past year, many supervisors are tired — tired of constant changes, tired of numerous Zoom meetings and tired of motivating employees through what often seems like turmoil. You may have an entire list of your own items that are making you darn-right exhausted.

So, how do you handle leadership fatigue? Martin Zwilling, founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, recommended the following tips in an article in Inc.

1. Train yourself to always look for positives, not negatives. Yes, we’ve all been there — the negative “virtual” water cooler talk. Sometimes you just need to vent. To avoid burning out, start focusing on the positive of the challenge, rather than the stress and the risk. After all, especially this year, change is the norm. This is an opportunity to learn something new and improve your skills, as well as the College.

2. Create a short to-do list at the beginning of the day. A long to-do list can be overwhelming, so take that large list and prioritize with the critical items that you will focus on today only. Ignore the other stuff for now. Zwilling recommends developing a three-item, high-priority list, so that you have time to comfortably and effectively address each one.

3. Practice delegation and decline unreasonable requests. To avoid burnout, Zwilling suggests declining requests outside of your responsibility and recommending others who may be more qualified.

4. Never schedule more than 80% of your time. This can be a hard one in our virtual environment, but try your best not to overload your schedule and to over-commit. After all, surprises will come up that you will need time to address.

5. Define a clear break between work and private activities. Now this can be a hard one as many of us are working remotely. Zwilling says to practice a ritual, such as a cup a coffee to define your workday beginning, and maybe tea with a family member to mark the beginning of your personal time. And then don’t let these worlds intrude on each other, except in emergencies. For some of us, it could be simply closing the Valencia College laptop and not opening it until morning.

Remember, if you feel like you have lost your enthusiasm and passion, taking a break from your day-to-day work for professional development and networking can be energizing. Valencia College offers many opportunities for development and networking with your peers, such as the Supervisor Summit, the Foundations in Creative Thinking Certificate Series, the Implicit Bias Series and the Storybook Leadership Series.

Also, if you would like to talk to a counselor one-on-one about stress and anxiety, Valencia College’s Optum Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to full-time employees. Call 866-248-4094 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and use the access code: Valencia. You may also log on to and use the access code: Valencia. Optum EAP provides confidential, short-term counseling at no cost to the employee.

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