Working Harder is Not the Answer

Do you think that working harder is the answer?

It sure is the way most of us worked our way to management roles - be really good at what you do and do it better and faster than others so leaders will notice.

Then they make you manager and you realize that the skills that got you here aren’t working. Being really good at your area of expertise isn’t enough.

So, you just work harder. Yet nothing changes.

Except now, you have an underperformer on your team who is bringing the median down, people aren’t showing up on time, there’s a lack of enthusiasm at meetings and the work pace has slowed.

Things only get worse. You are non-confrontational and avoid conversations that you don’t know how to have. You’re worried that your boss is noticing productivity. Your family is noticing that you are distant and irritable. Even when you’re home all you think about is work. You’re not sleeping or exercising and your desk drawer is filled with snacks.

 Can we just step back and acknowledge that leadership is an art and a science. Be gentle with yourself. When we learn the art of managing ourselves - the sticky thoughts and feelings that keep us stuck, the management tools we learn work far better.

You have the right conversation with an underperformer without it being personal and whereby they realize what it will take to be on your team or self-select out. You revisit  working hours in an aligned conversation and offer flexibility in exchange for results. Your team is excited to be a part of your well-articulated vision and collaborate on the mission because they see how they matter.

Deadlines are met. Executives are noticing. Your family is laughing again. You’re eating healthy and sleeping seven hours a night. You started doing yoga and journaling in the mornings. The snack drawer is now filled with nice stationary because you like leaving personal notes for high performers.

And most importantly, that urge to strive harder on the treadmill to nowhere has faded to a feeling of satisfaction.

Bam! That’s everything.


If this resonates with you may want to take my new free mini course: Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Paid!

Because success is freedom, not more hours. Access it here >>>

 Special Podcast: Leadership is the Way: In this episode Mary Lee is interviewed by former Nuclear Submarine Officer and president of Peak Demand Jon Rennie of The Deep Leadership Podcast on leadership styles, executive presence, emotional intelligence, and advancing in your career.

Listen to Mary Lee's "The Still Space Podcast" wherever you listen to podcasts or here: Mary Lee’s website     Apple      Spotify

If you are feeling age discrimination when your company should be putting your expertise to good use, this link to the strategies I share with my clients might help >>> 10 Tips When You Fear Age Bias

If you are struggling with uncertainty and feel exhausted and ineffective watch my FREE Training on Three Ways to Move to the Next Level In Your Career Right Now to 1) identify the right role for you, 2) position your transferable skills and 3) create a career portfolio that sells you before you even get an interview. If you don't know where you will be at the end of the year, you are already there.  

Your coach,

Mary Lee 

P.S. Feel free to send this link to someone who could benefit from it. We are all walking down the same road in life looking for a hand to hold. Sometimes we must be the hand that reaches out.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and 19-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and better relationships. Request a free consultation call.




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