CEOs: It’s  Time to Stop Running on Fumes

CEOs and other C-Suite leaders: How do you lead effectively when your “tank” and the tanks of your employees are running on empty?

It’s not an easy barrier to overcome. And the last few years have not been generous when it comes to mental and physical energy.

There’s often a resulting “rah, rah, rah” approach that occurs, or an attitude put forth of “we’re all in this together.” 

Today, that often provokes eye-rolls or exasperated sighs, rather than camaraderie and commitment. This reaction often burgeons when leaders themselves fantasize about forsaking all responsibilities for the comfort of their beds. 

Yet, retreat isn’t an option. What can you do? Here are three ideas to start.

1) Differentiate between what’s urgent and what’s important. 

In times of fatigue, everything feels like a priority, but the truth is, it’s not. Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix is a great tool here; it urges us to prioritize tasks that are important but not urgent—activities that necessitate foresight and strategic thinking, areas often neglected in the hustle of “urgent” tasks. 

Realign your team’s focus on these high-impact objectives, encouraging concentrated efforts where they count most, thereby reducing the frenzy around less critical tasks.

2) Know that compassion is your greatest asset in these times. 

Understand that the defiance, frustration, and anger bubbling in your team stem from exhaustion, not rebellion. Validate these emotions; then, pivot them into a driving force. Harness these passionate feelings, not as a wallowing pit, but as a launchpad for action and change. 

Empathy combined with a gentle nudge towards the bigger picture can rekindle a sense of purpose and motivation.

3) Infuse energy by shaking things up. 

Monotony can be a drudgery, especially when spirits are already low. Introduce something new into the daily routine: whether it’s a different meeting format, an impromptu brainstorming session outdoors, or a team-building exercise. Even small changes can offer fresh perspectives and a much-needed break from the norm.

Hang In There

Leading an exhausted team when you’re barely hanging on is tough, no doubt. But, it’s so important not to let the fatigue get in your way, and in your team’s way, of growth and success. 

You CAN create an environment where weary leaders and teams can find their second wind together. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint; pace yourself and your team accordingly.

Need some help reinvigorating your team? It might be a matter of optimizing operations—my niche area of expertise. You can contact me here via my website or email me directly at

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Get the COO-level support your business needs to thrive.