A Cup of Leadership CaffeineNote from Art: this is clearly tongue in cheek, with just a bit of a biting message!

If only there were a pill to cure Tired Leader Syndrome!

If the drug companies can do it, so can I.  Pack together an entire host of symptoms, name a syndrome and produce the cure.  Of course, the difference between my cure and what we hear on our televisions is that my side-affects aren’t worse than the actual problems.

Here’s my commercial:

Announcer comes on asking, “Do these images look familiar?”

Cue the Visuals:

Scene 1: Various images of clearly demoralized workers shuffling through their work or being dressed down by the boss for their obvious poor results.

Scene 2: A group of employees huddled by the water cooler suddenly grow quiet and disperse as the boss walks by.

Scene 3: (hey, this one’s been done before, kind of, but I’m borrowing it): Shift to a visual of a boss staring out his office window at a workplace clearly in a state of turmoil, and then move to a close-up to the boss’s face with a single tear rolling down his cheek.

Cue the Audio:


  • Are you a leader that’s been in your job for a long time and suffering from the following feelings of discomfort and inadequacy?
  • Are you more concerned about protecting your job than helping your team members?
  • Do your team members stare at their hands or at the ground when you are talking with them?
  • Is your primary motivation making certain that your turf is protected at any cost?
  • Do you and your team show almost no signs of innovation, learning or continuous improvement?
  • Do the long-standing routines that you require of your team members exist solely to make your life easier?
  • Do you find yourself wondering why the idiots on your team can’t solve problems without your involvement?
  • Do you regularly feel like shooting messengers as a response to receiving bad news?
  • When you sit alone in your office, do you wonder what it would be like to truly be good at your job and enthused about your work?

If you experience one or more of these symptoms and especially the last one, you might be suffering from Tired Leader Syndrome or TLS.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  This debilitating condition affects a high percentage of leaders that have been in the same role for too long. Left untreated, TLS is often fatal to your career as well as the careers of those in constant contact with you.

However, now, thanks to the miracles of modern medicine and marketing working hand in hand, there’s a cure for Tired Leader Syndrome.

With our pill and your commitment along with a fortune in coaching and a genuine desire to improve, you too can wake up, smell the coffee and rediscover why leading is a privilege and a serious professional responsibility.

Yes, you too can rediscover that your true role is about more than building and protecting your turf. You’ll remember that you are in your role to serve and support others and to drive positive results for your organization.

As part of the process, you will rediscover your passion for encouraging, coaching and motivating others and the great feeling that comes from seeing others succeed and grow in front of your eyes.

You’ll also rediscover what it’s like to lead and work with people that respect you without fearing you.  I know, it sounds ridiculous right now, but over time, you’ll come to understand that this is possible.

It’s not easy to overcome years of bad habits and a final cure in the most severe cases might require shock therapy, including being fired and having to start over on the lowest rung of the ladder.

Cue the Next Set of Images:

Scene shows happy workers, good constructive discussion and a smiling, supportive boss that is welcomed into group discussions around the water cooler.


There are no guarantees and Tired Leader Syndrome is a serious condition.  However, now, you can talk to your Coach about this in complete privacy and if he or she deems you eligible, you can start on your prescription today and start down the road to recovery from Tired Leader Syndrome.

Cue the Final Image:

Boss looking out the window with a  smile and look of satisfaction on his face.

New, Fast Talking Announcer:

Possible side affects include the recognition that you are not fit to lead, severe stomach cramping, hang nails, toe fungus and a serious loss of self-esteem.  If symptoms worsen, see your doctor or leadership coach immediately.

The Bottom Line:

There is no miracle cure and no pill for Tired Leader Syndrome other than the recognition that leadership is truly a privilege and that you owe it to yourself and everyone around you to stay fresh, focused and committed to the role.  I’ve seen many good leaders grow tired and then wake up thanks to a new assignment, a new boss that helped revive their spirits or as part of recovering from an illness or a job loss.  I’ve also met more than a few that we’re too tired mentally and lacked the resolve to wake up and start leading again.

For those that refuse to take progress, I wish you a quick retirement.  For those that are willing to take on the fight to overcome the slings and arrows of corporate outrageousness and creeping TLS, you have my complete support and regular encouragement here at Management Excellence.  Focus and hard work are the only miracle cures that I’ve found to date.