Leading An Overwhelmed Team


A common issue for leaders is to take on or be given more initiatives than their team has capacity to execute. And saying ‘No’ isn’t always an option. When your team feels overwhelmed, try this:


  1. Acknowledge there’s too much work. Pretending that everything’s fine and that they should be able to handle it will make your team feel misunderstood and resentful.
  2. Kill all non-essential projects and activities. Ask for your team’s input on what should or shouldn’t go.
  3. Be sure to communicate “up” about your team’s overload.
  4. Aggressively filter new demands on your team’s time.
  5. Model behaviors that encourage renewal. Set off-hours for answering email, take visible breaks, and stick to a reasonable work schedule. If you work 12-hour days, you signal to your team that they should do it, too.  

As a leader, remember that you are your team’s  defense against overload.

When you fail to prepare employees for leadership, you put the success of your organization in jeopardy. Get the insights to avoid first-level leader breakdowns and download our latest research study. 


About the Author

Todd Davis

Todd Davis has over 30 years of experience in human resources, training and training development, executive recruiting, sales, and marketing. Todd is currently a member of the FranklinCovey Executive Team where he serves as the Chief People Officer. He is also a bestselling author with two books to his credit, Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work and Talent Unleashed: 3 Leadership Conversations for Tapping the Unlimited Potential of People.

More Content by Todd Davis
Previous Video
Character and Competence
Character and Competence

Stephen M. R. Covey shares two essential keys to building and maintaining trust. He joins Scott Miller for ...

Next Video
Introducing The 30-Day Leadership Challenge
Introducing The 30-Day Leadership Challenge

FranklinCovey's Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Scott Miller, introduces The 30-Day L...