3 Survival Tips for When You’re In Over Your Head

050217_5365_0255_There are great things about being a leader, but sometimes it’s not always easy when the buck stops with you and there’s no one else to pass it on up to. Previously, when you weren’t in a leadership role, you probably had a manager to turn to when you were overwhelmed, but what do you do now? Try implementing these three tips to ease your situation the next time you get in over your head.

Take a Breather
Although taking a short break is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re in the middle of a crisis or tough situation, walking away for five to 10 minutes isn’t going to hurt anything. You need time to clear your head, gain some perspective, and switch your brain out of panic mode and into problem-solving mode. Try going on a “secret mission,” like author and humorista Christine Cashen describes in her book, The Good Stuff. Grab a notebook and walk briskly through the halls of your workplace. If someone tries to stop you, say you’re late and keep walking. No one will know you’re simply relieving stress, and when you get back to your office, you’ll feel better equipped to solve the problem.

Talk with a Fellow Leader
Even though you might not have your own manager to go to, try talking with a fellow leader within your organization or field. They have the leadership experience to draw advice from and will better understand where you’re coming from. You’ll also be able to vent your frustration and doubts without harming your team’s morale or productivity. Not only will you leave feeling better, most likely you’ll walk away with several possible solutions you wouldn’t have thought of.

Ask Your Team for Help
Certainly this can depend on the situation, but if the problem stems from workload or projects that need to be done, turn to your team for assistance. There’s no shame in asking for help, and, in fact, it will boost your employees’ morale and pride to know they have the ability to help out their leader. Leading a team is a two-way street. You want your employees to come to you for help, and you should be able to go to them too.

As the song says, “it’s lonely at the top,” but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to single-handedly take on every problem that crosses your path. Everyone will benefit from you taking time to gain perspective, get advice, and share the load with your team. Remember, there’s no “I” in team, and any solution is better when it comes from a multitude of experiences and minds versus just one or two.

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