As we approach the end of the year, the pressure to meet deadlines, accomplish targets and ensure a smooth transition to the new year can be overwhelming. As a middle manager, the responsibility falls heavily on your shoulders to not only drive your team toward success but also to move through the delicate balance between day-to-day priorities and broader strategic goals. One thing’s for sure, you’re not alone on this one.

The pressure is even higher now that we’re about to turn the pages and move to a new year. There’s even a survey conducted by Gallup that found 55% of middle managers are on the look out for new roles this year due to the stress brought about by layoffs, remote work / hybrid challenges, busywork and increased levels of burnout.


“For many managers, they are being asked to communicate and enforce requirements that they personally may not prefer.”

– Heather Barrett, Director at Gallup


“79% of middle managers say they’re at risk of burnout from the stress of managing people.”

– According to a research by The Predictive Index


Here’s some ways to balance your day-to-day priorities while managing your team to prevent burnout:

Prioritising with Precision

One of the key skills you should master is the art of prioritisation. It’s not just about getting things done; it’s about getting the right things done. As the saying goes, “Work smarter, not harder.” Here are some strategies to consider:

1. Urgency vs Importance: The Eisenhower Matrix, a simple and effective tool, categorises tasks into four quadrants based on their urgency and importance. Train yourself and your team to identify and tackle tasks according to this matrix. Prioritise the important tasks that contribute most to your team’s long-term goals.

2. Setting Achievable Goals: It’s tempting to overload your team with tasks, especially when there’s a year-end crunch. However, quality should take precedence over quantity. Establish a system that encourages the setting of realistic and achievable goals. This not only prevents burnout but also ensures that each task contributes meaningfully to the team’s success.

Try S.M.O.O.T.H.E.R.™️ goal getting rather than SMART goal setting: Learn more here.


Flexibility for Well-Being

Acknowledging the individual needs of your team members is crucial, especially during this time of the year. Implementing flexibility in work arrangements can make a significant difference:

  1. Flexible Work Hours: Consider advocating for flexible work hours or compressed workweeks. This not only helps your team members manage their personal commitments but also fosters a culture of trust. When people feel their personal lives are respected, they are more likely to be engaged and productive during working hours.
  2. Mental Health Resources: The year’s end can be stressful for many, and the added pressure of deadlines might affect your team’s mental well-being. Ensure that your team is aware of available mental health resources.

Many organisations offer Employee Assistive Services that provide confidential support for various challenges, including mental health issues. By actively encouraging your team to utilise these services, you are not only demonstrating your commitment to their well-being but also emphasising that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.


Effective Communication

Setting clear expectations and maintaining open lines of communication are crucial especially this time of the year:

  1. Transparent Goal Setting: Clearly communicate the team’s goals and the rationale behind them. When your team understands the bigger picture, they are more likely to stay motivated and focused, even during the busiest times.
  2. Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular check-ins with your team members. These can be brief one-on-one meetings to discuss progress, address concerns and offer support. Knowing that they have your attention and support can boost morale and productivity.


Celebrating Small Wins

In the midst of meeting deadlines and ticking off tasks, it’s essential to celebrate the small wins:

  1. Recognition: Take the time to acknowledge and recognise your team’s efforts. Whether it’s a personal note of appreciation or a shout-out in a team meeting, recognition goes a long way in boosting morale.
  2. Team-Building Activities: Consider organising virtual or face-to-face team-building activities. It could be a casual coffee session or a more structured game. These activities help in maintaining a positive team spirit, even if your team is working remotely.

Here are some strategies to lead a remote team: Read here.


As you sail the challenges of year-end priorities, it’s critical to keep an eye on the bigger picture. By prioritising effectively, supporting your team’s well-being, communicating clearly and celebrating achievements, you’re not just getting through the year; you’re setting the foundation for a successful start to the new one.

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. If you ever feel the need for additional support or ideas, I’m here to help. Let’s make the end of this year a stepping stone to a more successful and fulfilling year ahead.

P.S. I am not a mental health first aider however I can highly recommend someone if you would like to chat with one. Just let me know.