I’ve been promoted to leadership position, feeling overwhelmed

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a civil servant in my 40s. Due to a personnel change, I’m now in a leadership position at my job and have subordinates. I’m painfully aware that I am too naive in terms of how I work.

I lack good judgment and leadership skills. No matter how many times I check, I always find mistakes later on.

I always get depressed and think, “I’ve done it again.” It’s hard getting back on my feet, and I feel mentally unstable. Partly because of my husband’s job and since we have a small child, I cannot work many hours of overtime. So even at home, I’m bothered by thoughts of work.

And yet, I’m a persistently lazy person. I know I’m not working hard enough, but because I’m not a naturally active person, I need to thoroughly rest so I can recharge.

I’m afraid that I will make a serious mistake someday if I continue working like this. However, I don’t have the courage to give up my current position and the benefits that it comes with, for our life and our child’s future. I am really worried, but I’ve been unable to talk to anyone.

— E, Osaka Prefecture

/BD/Dear Ms. E:

Congratulations on your promotion. It will be more difficult for you to balance work and family, but I would like to toast to your determination to continue working.

However, I’m concerned that you seem rather pessimistic, which may ruin your determination.

For example, you wrote that you “don’t have the courage” to give up your current position. But that should be the other way around. You “have the courage” to not give up your current position for your life and your child’s future.

Your anxiety about your job shows how hard you are trying to tackle your work and subordinates. What you need to do now as a leader is to reflect on whether you are trying to do too many things on your own when you make a mistake. Turn that into an opportunity to devise a way to delegate the work to your subordinates.

You’re a hard worker. I recommend you try not to do everything perfectly on your own, but ask those around you for help. That will make the people who spend time with you at work and home more comfortable, and it will nurture them.

I believe you can do this because you know your own weaknesses and limitations.

— Masami Ohinata, university president