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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

Can doing less at work result in a net gain?

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

One of my recent clients is a physician leader who has risen in the ranks of her organization due to her incredible work ethic and her deep value of service. She enrolled in coaching because she felt the desire to do more in the organization, perhaps pursue a bigger leadership role, but she felt uncertain about it. On the one hand, she felt she had more to offer. On the other, she couldn’t imagine adding more complexity to her already overly scheduled day as a leader and mother.

I see this often in healthcare and other service-oriented organizations. A sense of purpose, a calling to care for others, drives people to work long hours and make themselves accessible to those that need them, nearly all the time. But that level of personal sacrifice can lead to compassion fatigue, burnout, or in the case of my client, a reluctance to be take on more scope.

When I work with clients feeling overwhelmed, we analyze both their demands (time & energy commitments) and their capacity (their ability to withstand the pressure). For high-achieving, service-oriented leaders, examining the demand side of the equation usually bears a lot of fruit. These leaders take on a lot of responsibility and are less likely to effectively delegate or decline commitments out of a sense of ownership and duty.

Creating better boundaries in the short term will lead to more sustainable success in the long term.

The question is this: Do you believe that your energy is your organization’s greatest asset?

If your energy, your creativity, and your compassion are your organization’s greatest assets, it is your obligation to do your part to preserve those things.

With that frame of mind, it is a noble endeavor to set boundaries, to find more equitable ways to share work, and to ask for help when you need it. Being conscientious about not overextending yourself today is an investment in your organization's future.


MindFrame, LLC delivers leadership and career coaching, team facilitation and keynote presentations to help you create change for good.

Custom services can be conducted at your organization or virtually.

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