Great leaders need to have the capacity to guide their team toward a common vision. But when you are feeling stuck in overwhelm, stress, and helplessness, you struggle to remember what the vision even is, let alone guide anyone else toward it!

Here are 3 strategies great leaders use every day to ensure that they remain effective, calm, and in control.

Just say “No”

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with too many demands on your time. I know you want and LOVE to help people and saying “no” feels like you’re going to be letting someone down but it can be just the opposite. Saying “yes” to everything can disappoint people even more when they come to rely on you for the thing you agreed to doing but then you just can’t follow through and get it done. Saying no can always turn into a yes later if you find the time after all. However, it gives you some breathing space to determine if this is something you can realistically fit into your already busy schedule.

You can say “no” graciously. It really doesn’t have to be a rejection of the other person. Think of it this way — you’re not saying “no” to them, you’re saying “yes” to yourself.

Get Your Priorities Straight

Juggling multiple tasks or projects can be a simple thing to do. Think of how many times you’ve been driving in your car, having a conversation, checking your rearview mirrors, changing the radio station, and reading a road side sign virtually all at the same time. You didn’t feel overwhelmed then did you? Or maybe you’ve been in the kitchen preparing a large meal for company. You had numerous dishes on the go at the same time in various stages of preparation and you still managed to set the table, greet early guests and direct your daughter to where she might find her favourite holiday sweater. Again, no overwhelm because you knew what needed to happen and in which order it needed to happen.

When you are clear on what you need to do and when you need to do it, you can get a lot more done more effectively and efficiently without getting overwhelmed.

The Power of a List

Carrying everything you need to remember to do around in your head is not an effective use of your brain power. Have you ever had too many programs and files open on your computer only to have it crash or freeze because it ran out of RAM? Your brain is like that too. You see, in order not to forget anything, your brain will keep returning to thoughts of the things that you need to remember. As you add more and more things to remember, you will end up having little room (aka brain power) left to actually process how to get things done. You’ll just keeping thinking about the fact that you do need to get them done, rather than taking one thing at a time and using your brain power to actually GET them done!

Use your To Do list as a brain dump. Start by listing everything that you need or want to get done. Then go back over it and decide which items fall into the category of “someday I’d like to… “ Put those on a separate list which you will keep in a “Someday/Maybe” folder. Now go over your list again and decide which of the items you can easily delegate. Do you really need to be the one to take the dry cleaning to the cleaners or can you enlist someone else in the family to do that for you? Should you be doing your own shredding or could you pay the kid that lives down the street five bucks to come do that for you?

Apply these strategies to your day and you will be a much more effective leader.

For more great info, videos, and articles on leadership, go to

Susanne Hemet