What Should A CIO Do When You Feel Overwhelmed?

Sometimes life can get to be just too much for us
Sometimes life can get to be just too much for us
Image Credit: Joselito Tagarao

Can we talk about THOSE days? You know the ones that I’m talking about – the ones that just show up and slap you in the face. They may start out just fine, but all too soon they turn into monster days where everyone wants a piece of us and there seems to be no time for us to get the things done that we know that we need to get done because of the importance of information technology. There’s a way to describe how we feel when we run into one of these days – it’s called overwhelmed. When this happens to you, you need to know how to handle it.

It’s Not All About You

When you start to feel overwhelmed, you need to take the time to take a step back from yourself. I suspect that you are normally quite proud of yourself. You are the kind of person with the CIO job who can get things done. You know how to fix things. You are the person that people come to when they are having problems. That’s all well and good. However, when you are feeling overwhelmed you are going to have to get over yourself.

What you are going to have to do is to realize a fundamental truth about the situation that you now find yourself in. It turns out that you really can’t do it all by yourself. This can be very tough to admit to yourself. It’s going to take outside help for you to accomplish what you need to get done. There, you just admitted it. Now you are starting to get over that over overwhelmed feeling.

Stop Doing Things The Way That You Are Doing Them

One of the reasons that you are feeling overwhelmed is because the old way of doing things is no longer working for you. It may be because when someone hands you some work to do, you just say “thanks”. It may be because you don’t know how to delegate tasks to the people who work in your department. No matter what the cause is, it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop now.

This kind of behavior can be difficult to detect. What you are going to have to do is to sit down over a weekend and take a look back at your week. What you are going to want to do is to understand how you chose to spend your time each day. What you are going to be looking for are those areas where you could have made better decisions about how you were going to be spending your time. Are there any efficiencies that you can discover? Freeing up your time will minimize your sense of feeling overwhelmed.

Ask For Forgiveness

Just in case you were not aware of it, bad things happen when you become overwhelmed. Very bad things. Because we feel that the world is falling in on us and there is nothing that we can do about it, we tend to react rather badly. We start to destroy things. These things can be physical objects (we throw them), relationships, and trust. Once we’ve destroyed them, we are pretty much left with nothing.

That’s why it’s your responsibility to realize that you have become overwhelmed. It may be too late to stop your rampage of destruction; however, now you have to take steps to try to repair what you have done. What this means is that you have some apologizing to do. You need to take the time to determine just exactly whose toes you stepped on as you descended into your sense of being overwhelmed. Next, you’re going to have to hunt them down and tell them that you made a mistake. Nope, this is not going to be easy to do, but yes, it is necessary.

What All Of This Means For You

As the person with the CIO position we understand that we still don’t run the world. We will have days that will get away from us. Too much will be asked of us and we’ll have too little time to get the things that we need to do done. When this happens, it is entirely possible that we’re going to start to feel overwhelmed.

When we start to feel overwhelmed, we need to take a step back. We need to understand that the reason that we got ourselves into this situation is because we tried to do too much. What this means is that we need to stop trying to do it all by ourselves. One of the reasons that we start to feel overwhelmed is because we take on too much work. Once we become overwhelmed we need to change the way that we do things. Taking a look at our past week is a good way to find out where we made mistakes. Becoming overwhelmed can cause us to start to destroy things in our lives. We need to understand what has happened to us and then we need to take the time to repair what we have broken.

We are not fully in control of our lives. We may still become overwhelmed in the future. However, if we can become sensitized to this and detect it when it happens, then we can start to undo it and perhaps get over it quickly so that we can get back to work.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: When you start to feel overwhelmed, do you think that you should leave your workplace in order to recover?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As the person with the CIO job, you have a lot of challenges facing you. One of the biggest is how you are going to use your limited IT resources to meet the needs of the entire company. As the company’s awareness of the importance of information technology continues to grow more people will be coming to you with requests for the IT department to automate some process, monitor some inputs, or do a better job of communicating with customers online. Since your budget won’t growing enough to do all of this, perhaps it’s time that you went engine shopping.