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When Workload Complaints Reveal More Than Just Stress: A Leadership Lesson

Updated: May 8

Hey everyone,


First off, I want to apologize for the radio silence over the past few months. I took a short hiatus to reflect and consider the direction I want to take moving forward. It’s given me some fresh perspectives, and I’m excited to share these with you as we move forward to add value to your leadership life. .


Have you ever had one of those days where everything's scheduled back-to-back and you're just trying to keep your head above water? Yeah, me too. During one of these whirlwind days one of my team members, let’s call him John, knocked on my door with that all-too-familiar look of stress. He started venting about his crazy workload. I've been there, hearing the same concerns repeatedly, but something clicked this time.


Initially, I'd nod, offer some advice, and we'd both get back to work. But this pattern wasn't helping John or the team. I decided to dig in—what was driving this constant feeling of being overwhelmed? It wasn't just the workload; it was how John interacted with our team causing them to be hesitant to collaborate with him.



This realization led me to take a few proactive steps:


First, I listened with a New Perspective: I didn't just listen to respond. I listened to understand. It turned out that John’s approach made it tough for others to work with him, which meant he ended up with more on his plate.

 

Second, I worked at Building Bridges: I brought the team together, not for the usual status updates, but for an honest chat about how we can better support each other. We discussed everything from daily frustrations to what we genuinely needed from each other to succeed.

 

Third, I focused on Personal Growth: I also spent one-on-one time with John. We worked on empathy and communication—skills that help melt away barriers and build stronger team ties.


Over time, John started altering his approach, and the team responded. They began to share the load more effectively, which helped everyone feel less overwhelmed. This whole experience was an eye-opener for me. It reminded me that as a leader, our job isn't just to manage tasks but to foster an environment where everyone can talk openly about what's working and what's not—without fear of judgment.


If you're seeing similar patterns in your team, take a moment to look beyond the surface. Sometimes, the issue isn't about the workload itself, but about the environment and how people feel working within it. And trust me, taking the time to address these underlying issues can make all the difference.


We would love to hear how you handle similar situations or any tips you might have for fostering a supportive team environment. Share your experience, we would love to hear from you!

 

Larry “TaterPop”

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