Stress-Free Leader

You Make Good Money But Your Family is Suffering: The Leadership Challenge Series

Words of a leader close to burnout: “I have a great job, I make good money, but my family relationships are suffering.” Leaders understand leadership is a family affair and this is one of the leadership challenges present in the life of many leaders. Not only is the leader leading, but the family is often affected in some way.

When I accepted the role as Chief Nursing Officer, I had a family conference. “Everyone have a seat. We’ve discussed this move and the promotion. I want everyone to understand, this is a very challenging role. In fact, probably the most challenging in the entire hospital. I only know how to do this one way, so if anyone is not onboard with what this will take from me and our family, we have to talk about it now.”

I remember those words vividly as if they were yesterday. Yet even as I spoke them, I did not understand the full impact the role would have on me and the family. True to their word, they supported me every step of the way. That does not mean it wasn’t hard and extremely taxing at times. There were disagreements and frustrations when I would miss an important event, disappointments when I came home too late, and other conflicts.

Consider your own circumstances and the leadership challenges you face… who else is being affected in your family? For instance:


  • Are you frustrated because you make good money, but your relationships are suffering?
  • Is your spouse longing for more quality time?
  • Are your children saying you are never home?
  • Are you visiting with friends and family and investing in those important relationships?
  • How is your relationship and caring for self during these challenging and fast-paced times?
  • When is the last time you went on vacation and did not check work email or respond to texts from the office?
Multi Generational Family
How Can You Reduce Leadership Overwhelm and Burnout?

As challenging as leadership can be, I learned there is a better way. This does not have to be your norm. You can decide the chronic leadership stress in the workplace that has contributed to conflict in many families is something you reject in your own life. Because it has become expected among leaders does not mean you should accept it. So, what is the solution?


A shift towards stress-free leadership can save your sanity and your relationships.

Start your transition to becoming a stress-free leader using a foundation of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your emotions and those of others in a way that contributes to positive outcomes. In a future blog, we will dive more into how to be an emotionally intelligent leader, how it shows up in the workplace, and how it translates to helping you gain the leadership skills needed to reduce stress. But first, I’d like to share a brief roadmap to quickly get you started on the road to becoming a stress-free leader.

You can start this process on your own but for long-term maximum effectiveness, I recommended working with a coach. It is simply too easy to revert to old behaviors without a consistent accountability partner and coach. Feel free to book a time on my calendar to explore the exciting options for becoming a stress-free leader.

To start your journey, begin working through the 5 C’s to Stress Free:

  1. Clarity – Take the time to get clear about 1) how you are feeling and 2) what you want. Resolve the internal conflicts that create fear, guilt, judgement and other emotions that do not serve you in achieving your goals. Without this clarity is will be difficult to create a clear path forward.
  2. Confidence – As you gain clarity, you will find self-doubt creeping in. While natural, it will stop progress in its tracks. Work on building confidence to support your transition to becoming a stress-free leader. Pay close attention as confidence may hide behind other excuses. However, when we peel those away, what hides underneath is lack of confidence.
  3. Choices – Continue the process by deciding on small changes that can get you moving and build momentum. Are you setting boundaries? Are you prioritizing the important events in your life? Are you taking time to care for yourself and your family?
  4. Communication – We could write an entire article on communication and the role it plays chronic stress. For the sake of this discussion, begin here. Monitor both your internal and external communication. Do they both convey confidence and belief? Do they convey clarity? Are they consistent with your intention? It is extremely important to align your communication to help keep things moving.
  5. Consistency & Commitment – Starting and stopping is a momentum killer. Certainly, if you need to hit the reset button, do it. However, the goal is to start making progress, one step at a time and continue moving forward without pauses that cause a shift in confidence or momentum. This is where a coach is super helpful. You absolutely need to commit for this transition to show positive results in your life. If you don’t want to hire a coach, find someone close to you who you can count on to check in consistently to help hold you accountable. 

While leadership challenges will never go away, each of us has the ability to choose how we respond to them. For instance, you can choose that even when working in a high-stress environment, you will incorporate intention and practices that help you lower your stress level so you can live, love and lead stress-free.

Happy Stress-Free Leading!