From Overwhelmed to Focused – Three Questions to Energize You

From Overwhelmed to Focused

In today’s fast-paced world, leadership isn’t simply about decision-making and delegation; it’s also about guiding teams through the uncertainty and complexity that characterizes our work environments. 

Picture this… You’re a leader in your organization, responsible for steering your team towards its goals. Each day brings a new set of challenges and a new list of tasks to tackle. It feels like there’s never enough time, never enough resources, to get everything done. You’re juggling competing priorities, trying to keep all the plates spinning without letting any of them crash to the ground. Sound familiar?

You’re not alone in more ways than one!

First, leaders everywhere are grappling with this same sense of overwhelm, and it’s taking a toll on their well-being and their motivation. 

Second, we know that emotions are contagious. The overwhelm you experience spreads across your team and ripples throughout the organization. Your team members feel the strain, struggling to stay focused and motivated in the face of mounting pressure.

Having experienced these challenges firsthand, I’m familiar with the sense of never having enough time in the day to attend to everything on my plate. Frankly, it’s exhausting. 

Let’s be clear experiencing overwhelm does not mean you are a poor or ineffective leader. Not at all. But it suggests that you have, at least temporarily, become disconnected from your WHY. And as a result, you lose perspective on what matters most to achieve results.

In my work with leaders, I’ve come to see that there is a way through this. It brings focus, but it will require some discipline on your part to maintain it and communicate it to others.

There are three powerful questions that we can pose—for ourselves as leaders and with our teams.

Why do we exist? Each person, each team, and each organization needs a sense of purpose. A compelling answer to WHY. As a leader, an important part of your job is to articulate this with your team, providing them with something to rally around. With everyone aligned around a shared purpose, it’s a lot easier to navigate through the storms, staying focused on the direction in which you are moving.

What do we do? Your unique purpose helps you define the unique contribution that your team makes to the organization. What’s at the heart of the work done by the team? This is not a list of activities, but it’s the essence of the service that only this team can provide. Clarity here helps with knowing who you serve, what matters to them, and the boundaries between you and other teams.

What’s most important, right now? In a world where everything seems urgent, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day minutiae and urgent-sounding interruptions. That’s why it’s crucial to identify the very few priorities that allow you to focus on what truly matters at the moment (whether for the year, the quarter, or a smaller timescale). Doing this helps the team cut through the noise and stay focused on the work that will have the biggest impact.

This is central to the practice of transformational leadership. Creating a culture in which clarity and focus are nurtured allows everyone to be on the same page, working towards the same goals.

The benefits of doing this go far beyond improved productivity and performance. A team that feels clear and focused will be happier, more engaged, and more motivated. The sense of purpose and direction fosters commitment, reduces turnover, and creates a stable, cohesive workforce.

Navigating through overwhelm is never easy but it’s not impossible either. By embracing this foundation for your leadership, you can guide your team through even the stormiest of seas, emerging stronger and more cohesive on the other side. So, take a deep breath, clarify what truly matters, and lead your team towards a more successful future.


Until next time,


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