The last 24 months have been difficult. COVID has been exhausting. And leadership fatigue during this time is at an all-time high. There’s not a person I’ve talked to who’s not tired.
And, unfortunately, being tired as a leader has some pretty significant consequences.
It can have you making poor decisions.
It can leave you feeling isolated.
It can have your health and well-being taking a backseat.
It can zap your energy and your passion.
It can make you feel as if you are failing.
It can cause you to lose your confidence.
Of course, we CAN recover from all of these things.
But it can take a while…especially when it comes to your confidence.
So what’s a leader to do when they’re tired…so very tired…and yet, they still need to lead – with that same confidence they had pre-pandemic?
Here are my go-tos for leading with confidence…even when exhausted!
Figure Out Where Your Doubts Are Coming From
When your self-confidence starts to fade, it’s time to take a look and figure out why. Was there something – a missed opportunity, a poor decision, an error in judgment – that’s thrown you for a loop? Often, that is the case. And now you find yourself questioning your every move. But it’s best to pinpoint the event, make a list of things you could do better next time, and move on knowing that one event is not career-defining.
Reach Out to Others
Who’s on your support team? Do you have a mentor? Do you have a network of people you can reach out to? When you’re tired and feeling like you need a boost – reach out to those people who can provide it for you! Find those people who will just listen…and ask for their advice or help if you want it – but sometimes just having someone to listen to you is what you need.
Robin Blackburn, founder of Robin Blackburn Marketing, shared, “When I’m having doubts, and my confidence is not where it should be, I actually talk with my husband. He’s been in a high-pressure business role for a long time, and he ‘gets it.’ I also have some women in my network who run successful businesses, and I reach out to them when I need support – or just to commiserate with people who understand.”
Celebrate Your Skills and Wins
What are you great at? What skills do you bring to the table that make you a rock star? What wins have you had lately – big or small – that can be celebrated? Take those skills and those wins and celebrate them – even if it’s just internally. Use those things to give yourself the best pep talk ever!
When you’re tired, it’s easy to say yes to things – even when you don’t want to. These things may be out of your job scope or out of your skill area – and they can be draining on not only your time, but your confidence. Establish (or re-establish if they’ve fallen by the wayside) your boundaries, and don’t feel guilty for it. You have to do what’s best for you! (You can read more on setting boundaries at work here!)
Rely On Your Emotional Intelligence
A few weeks ago, I shared a blog on “Becoming Emotionally Intelligent as a Leader,” and it’s something you want to rely upon when your confidence is not where it should be. When it comes to emotional intelligence, you have to focus on: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, effective communication, and relationship management. When these things are all in focus, you are going to find that you feel a whole lot better about a whole lot of things
– including your own confidence.
Mistakes happen. In fact, everyone makes mistakes. Let me repeat that…everyone makes mistakes. But you can’t get caught up in them. You have to trust yourself as a leader. You are in this role for a reason. People see awesome things in you. So trust that you can do the job!
Melissa Morris, Founder and CEO of a project management company, said, “During the pandemic, I had to step back and really focus on the essentials. Leaning into the business processes we had in place and putting a hold on initiatives that weren’t high priority helped. I also kept reminding myself that everyone was going through uncertainty and were dealing with their own fears.” She trusted that she could do what was right for her business during tough times.
This last one is not a case of “fake it ‘til you make it” – but instead, honestly exude positive energy. Research was recently shared that the best leaders are not necessarily those that are powerful or have a huge knowledge base. Instead, they are those that have “positive relational energy: the energy exchanged between people that helps uplift, enthuse, and renew them.” This energy will not only renew others, but it will also revitalize you. (You can read the whole article where the quote is from in Harvard Business Review here.)
Now that I’ve shared my best advice on maintaining your confidence as a leader when you’re tired – I want to hear what you have to say! Drop me a comment or send me an email and share! Confidence is something we all have to work on at some point or another – so I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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