Boss Lady

You’ve got this: Deal with a crisis but avoid burnout


Dr Froswa’ Booker-Drew answers your questions, putting her years of experience and practice into the goal of solving those knotty problems that beset us, and assuring us: ‘you’ve got this’. If you’d like Froswa’ to look at your particular problem, email it to

Some days I think I’m going to have a breakdown. Our business seems to lurch from one crisis to another, and somehow I’m always the person who is putting out the fires. I’m pretty patient, but this is starting to wear thin. How can I shift some of the responsibility without seeming like I’m incompetent or trying to avoid the problems? Peta Kozlowski


First and foremost, putting out fires is exhausting.  Ongoing crisis management equates to poor management and ultimately, burns out the staff.  This means that there is either no planning or poor planning.  There seems to be several problems that exist.  I don’t have all of the details but is it your responsibility to put out fires?  Are their others who are not carrying their weight on the job and it is landing on your shoulders to deal with?  My mind races in wondering so many things but with limited information, it is difficult to offer a solid plan.

Let’s start with you professionally.  If you are in a position of leadership, how can you begin to change the direction of the organization from being reactive to proactive in your sphere of influence?  If not, is there an opportunity to coach up –meaning can you assist your boss in becoming more of a planner and identifying others on the team that can assume some of the work?

On a personal note, have you made your concerns known to those in leadership?  Will they listen?  Is this an opportunity for you to use your skills and know-how to turn things around if given what you need to do so?  Or is this a lost cause because the very foundation of the company is built on emergencies?  If so, it doesn’t matter how great you are in resolving conflict and putting out fires, you will ultimately get burned because they are not willing to do something different.  At the end of the day, what can you do to create better boundaries so that you are not about to have a breakdown and are worn terribly thin? I hope this isn’t impacting your personal life or your health.  Nothing is worth your health or your sanity!  This isn’t an issue of incompetence.  For an organization, the focus should be on protecting your greatest asset–your staff/team, and setting them up for success.  If you are in a situation that continues to deprive of you that, I’m just not sure if you can win and if it is worth it in the long run.  Do what is in your best interest, Peta.  If you believe that three years from now, nothing will change, are you able to endure?  If not, then begin to create a strategy that works for you to do what is best for YOU. I would strongly suggest that you read, Building the Bridge As You Walk On It: A Guide for Leading Change by Robert Quinn.  It’s a great book that I believe that can help you navigate these drastic changes.  You. Got. This., Peta. I know that you do!

About Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew is a Partnership Broker. Relational Leadership Junkie. Connector. Author/Speaker/Trainer. Co-Founder, HERitage Giving Circle. She been quoted and profiled in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. In addition, she has been asked to speak on a variety of topics such as social capital and networking, leadership, diversity, and community development to national and international audiences. This included serving as a workshop presenter at the United Nations in 2013 on the Access to Power. One of the most impactful life events for her was being a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that followed a cast of 7 women from Dallas to India. Honors for her work include: Semi-finalist for the SMU TEDx in 2012, 2012 Outstanding African American Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, 2009 Woman of the Year Award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Diversity Ambassador for the American Red Cross. Graduating with a PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change, she also attended the Jean Baker Miller Institute at Wellesley for training in Relational Cultural Theory and completed facilitator training on Immunity to Change. She has also completed training through UNICEF on Equity Based Evaluations, and is the author of 2 workbooks for women, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last as well as a writer for several publications around the globe. WFAA Attention Series: Froswa Booker Drew on Vimeo

Recommended for you