✨Once upon a time…
in a beautiful coaching session… arrived this LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE

I’m overwhelmed by travel

– My team members are scattered over 4 countries and we are working well. I know it’s my duty to take care of my teams, so I visit them regularly and we get things moving.
– π‘Šβ„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ 𝑖𝑠 π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘β„Žπ‘Žπ‘™π‘™π‘’π‘›π‘”π‘’ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘›?
– Well, I know airports better than our offices. I wake up very early to take the first flight and come late back in the evening. I’ve enjoyed it for several years as I love traveling and meeting them is really nice.
We settle things easily in face to face meetings…
But just thinking that I need to pack again and take a flight, as soon as next week… I’m already exhausted.
I’m really a poor leader overwhelmed by travel…
It feels like I have great teams but I’m never at home…
I’m just never at home….


Acknowledging our limits

It takes a lot for leaders eager to grow their teams to say they are exhausted!
Sometimes they only say it at the edge of burnout… surprising everyone.
What used to be a stimulating environment where both leaders and teams thrive no longer seems best suited… for the leader, while it may seems the ideal environment for the teams.
Inducing the leader to think that taking care of self is at the expense of others…

And yet, there is nothing wrong in noticing that we are evolving with different needs.
Rather a meaningful and courageous step to enhanced self-awareness!


How did the leader elegantly solve this challenge?


  • Defining his own suitable boundaries

– how much travel is the maximum limit?
– when is it most important to be at home? for how long?
– what do I need to really feel at home?

For this leader, it was about limiting traveling to a week per month.

    • Defining leadership style and expectations- noticing the team has grown, what support is really needed?
      – how much autonomy would be best?
      – what follow-up options are available and aligned with my leadership?

For this leader, it meant revising the responsibilities ceilings with each team, the follow-ups modes and frequency, as well as promoting mentoring systems.

  • Setting up autopilot systems

– what can be planed ahead and settled?
– what could be grouped?
– who could come regularly rather than me going there?
For this leader, it was as simple as reviewing the yearly training plans, client visits and HQ visits, grouping the three categories into batches on the same location. Once decided with his teams, he booked all travel tickets at decent times for the whole year so he no longer has to take care of this.

  • Communicating with their teams

– what do they expect from me as a leader?
– where do they feel confident they could do with greater autonomy?
– who could be my direct reports representing each team?

For this leader, clarifying expectations and needs has been a real game-changer. It was a most welcome and fruitful conversation, taking stance of evolutions and crafting the future growth phase of each team.
The teams were still a bit new in their role to allow for intermediate management roles, yet it was the next ambition for this leader and teams.


And it worked… beautifully!

When we met again later on, he was way more relaxed and relieved. His teams had understood and nobody was resentful. They even still trusted him and appreciated his sharing his vulnerability, that made him more accessible. New ways of working seemed rational and efficient, it gave them an opportunity to enhance their relationship and teamwork.

“I should have done it earlier!” he said with a radiant smile…


With such challenge as a leader overwhelmed by travel, what would be best practice?

  • Acknowledging our limits as a welcome signal for re-balancing
  • Prioritizing our well-being so we can last in our role
  • Defining our own boundaries allowing us to perform at our best
  • Simplifying, grouping, delegating, letting go, de-cluttering
  • Communicating with teams on their needs and ours, their expectations towards their leader and what we can provide (as well as potentially no longer provide)
  • Setting up systems to place recurrent things on autopilot and free our mental space
  • Mapping a talent development plan and growing team leaders
  • Leader as a strategic thinker
    For sustainable results, we need to ensure we give our best, thus crafting our environment in a way that energizes us rather than deplete our energy.
    Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury.
  • Leaders as a change driver
    Acknowledging our own evolution should be considered as a similar process as acknowledging a market evolution or a major stakeholder change.
    Coping with our own change without guilt as if it was someone else’s change.
  • Leaders as a role model
    Redefining our teams needs and expectations as well as ours regularly allows others to do the same when they need. And that contributes a lot to talent retention!


Journey with a trusted companion

We rarely have enough distance to observe ourselves and challenge our thought process enough. When we face such challenge, I kindly recommend to discuss the situation with a trusted mentor or book a coaching session to gain the clarity, retrieve the courage needed and feel empowered to take action.


Beyond exploring solutions for this leader overwhelmed by travel, practice with other leadership challenges…

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Marianne Dupuis, Leadership Coach

About the Author Marianne Dupuis Coached 900+ global leaders to thrive with multicultural teams. Her secret recipe: easy connection with leaders, joy in cultural diversity and a slice of irreverence. “Pragmatic and direct, simple and flexible, committed and caring” they say!

Give her a call, who knows? You too may succeed πŸ˜‰

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