Embracing the Responsibilities of Leadership: Addressing the Burdens of Executive Management

Embracing the Responsibilities of Leadership: Addressing the Burdens of Executive Management

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Though leadership roles can be rewarding, many managers at all levels face similar challenges.

In 2022, leadership development firm Blanchard polled 800 managers about the issues they struggled with most. 

Many said one of the biggest burdens of executive management was that they simply were juggling too many priorities and goals. 

Others already felt overworked – but weren’t completing everything they had to do each week. Managers reported working an average of 48.5 hours per week but estimated they would need to work around 62.5 hours weekly to complete their responsibilities. 

Accordingly, two out of three managers were burnt out. 

Some also felt they weren’t doing their jobs well. On average, they rated their performance at 7.55 out of 10. 

This survey indicates that to address the burdens of executive management, and leaders need to better understand their priorities and connect with others with whom they can share their struggles. 

This guide discusses how companies can support managers in leading more effectively.


✅ Decreasing managers’ stress.

One of the managers’ complaints was that they didn’t always know which responsibilities to prioritize. 

So, leadership should help managers decide what’s most important and how to use their time each week without overworking. 

“[M]anagers are not getting the information they need to prioritize their to-do lists and make the necessary trade-offs between projects. This must come from above,” suggested Jay Campbell, the organization’s Chief Product Officer.

At the same time, leaders should ensure that managers don’t have too many tasks on their plates without enough resources and time to complete them well.


✅ Feeling more supported.

As they advance in their careers, some managers feel isolated, perhaps believing that they should be able to lead and make decisions all on their own. 

“After many years working as a coach for international leaders, I can assure you that it is quite common for leaders to feel isolated and lonely, particularly when they are faced with complex personal or professional issues,” said Paula Vidal Castelli, Executive Director Europe for SFAI Global.

Certainly, isolation impacts managers’ mental and physical health. 

How can organizations address these problems? 

For one, they can establish mentorship programs connecting mid-level and more senior leadership. Peer mentorship offers guidance and support for managers who might feel like they should be able to make decisions by themselves. 

Managers also shouldn’t be afraid to collect feedback from their peers. 

“Even if they don’t see you as a peer, it’s your view that counts here. Don’t isolate yourself. You can always learn from the experience of others on your team. If your startup is a one-man show, there are outside advisors who can offer you an unbiased view as a team member,” suggested Martin Zwilling for Entrepreneur.


✅ Creating mental wellness programs at your company.

Some organizations have also added resources that support employees’ mental wellness.

For instance, teach company Akamai added a Corporate Wellness Program Manager role. 

“The position works closely with the Akamai community to craft events and activities under the company’s wellness pillars: active, nourished, calm, balanced, and healthy. Past programming included a multi-week sleep improvement workshop, pet therapy, outdoor scavenger hunts, and speaker series on topics such as burnout,” said Ripplematch.


✅ Building a support team in and outside of the office.

In addition to mentorship and wellness programs, managers also asked for more training at every level, according to the Blanchard study. Senior management wanted added training in “leadership, strategic planning, and communication.” Middle and frontline managers wanted more guidance in problem-solving, decision-making, and team leadership.

Organizations could also direct managers to outside organizations that would give them a peer network for support. Vistage or Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization (YEO) connect leaders who may feel more comfortable discussing issues they’ve been having with leaders who don’t work at their companies. 

Executives at your organization should also be willing to share the strategies they use to stay motivated. For instance, someone might share how they talk to friends outside of work to glean perspectives about challenges. 

“Their feedback and perspective are vital to your health and success if you maintain a balance between business and personal. Their guidance will help to keep you centered and effective.

The best leaders learn to sometimes say no to work and learn how to mix work and play,” Zwilling mentioned.


Lessening the Burden of Executive Management


Many leaders are stressed by what’s expected of them at work.

Not only do they feel overworked and fragmented, but they also don’t always think they’re doing all that’s expected of them. 

To address these burdens of executive management, companies can help managers prioritize their time effectively, develop mentorship programs, and encourage collaboration among leaders and their teams. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your responsibilities, talking to someone about your struggles can help. Ivy Exec’s coaching services match you with an executive coach who can help you make a plan for feeling more accomplished at work. 

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