This guidance describes how to respond when, through any number of factors, you and your team are OVERWHELMED with lots of new work. Perhaps it's a layoff, perhaps it's a re-organization, perhaps it's because you're GOOD. Regardless, what do you DO??
This question of workload realignments has been a frequent recurrence. There's a layoff, and suddenly some manager has half the people, but somehow twice the work. Or, maybe the team stays intact, but there's a layoff ELSEWHERE, and your team is left with a mountain of work that someone else used to do.
What do you do when you used to be barely keeping up, and now suddenly you and your team's workload jumps by 30, 50, even 100%?
We know this is a tough spot to be in. The most likely response of the VAST majority of managers is a faithless acceptance of a life of short-term failure. It's a fatalistic pose, one that scours the mind free of new ideas, and makes creativity and optimism something better left to others.
What's more, the advice that's out there really makes our blood boil. What do most websites and newspapers and magazines suggest? Oh, they interview clinical psychologists. [This is ALWAYS a bad sign!] They talk to "workplace stress experts". They talk to HR. Suddenly, the solutions seem to be about our own mental health, and about how to guard against one of our directs becoming deeply depressed. Watch for this sign, watch for that, celebrate small successes, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. Oh, and be sure to ask for more resources.
Depression. Mental Health. Additional resources.
Balderdash. Idiocy. GALACTICALLY STUPID. This cast isn't about your mental health. We'd bet it's just fine. Same with your directs. This cast is about meeting a big challenge, and coming out on top. We know what YOU want to know. What can I DO?!? How do I get the WORK done?
This cast is dedicated to two of our members. One is Manon, who asked the question in the forums, when I had a chance to finally answer it. I've meant to for years, but never put pen to web. And, to Rich Ruh, a longtime member and friend, who was kind enough to comment that the answer was good enough to deserve its own podcast. When I told him I would name it after him, he said, that was the most important ANYTHING that I've read in over a month. You can name it the "Something that Rich Ruh wished he could take credit for but wouldn't have thought up by himself in a million years" cast. So it shall be.
The fact is, this problem can be faced, and it can be beaten. YOU - YES YOU - CAN BEAT IT. For those of us who HAVE beaten it, it's a bit like facing death. After you do THAT, you realize most of your concepts are just misconceptions. Once you walk through this fire, you'll feel like you could walk through hell in a gasoline suit.
Mike and I have been there. This is how we did it.
This Cast Answers These Questions
- My team is overwhelmed. What do I do?
- How can I get much more done?
- How do I cure overwork?
Other Parts of This Series
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