Unfortunately, employee burnout is a commonplace event. Too many good people leave jobs they should love, saying, “I just can’t take it any more.”
The other day I was coaching a client of mine who’s a senior vice president. He’s one of the best—he works hard and long hours, he’s dedicated, loyal and hard working, and he excels at what he does. He said, “I can’t do this any more—I’m totally burned out.” If he leaves it will be determent to the company, the team and the organization.
It is widely known that burnout results from workload pressures, long hours, tight deadlines and picking up the work of others. And it’s the most talented and high-performing people who are at highest risk.
Often, though, a lack of leadership support or managerial motivation is also to blame. It’s important to recognize when you might be overloading your best people so you can do everything in your power to protect them from burnout. Here are six strategies that will help:
Set clear goals. Define goals for your team, and then leave them alone unless there’s a compelling reason for change. Let people do what they do best to work on achieving the goals and being successful without moving the goalposts or deadlines.
Define roles. Assigning well-defined roles and responsibilities is the first step to accountability and excellence. Structure the team in such a way that no one ends up having to pick up the slack for others. Be clear about responsibilities and expect excellence from everyone.
Give autonomy. The worst thing you can do as a leader is to micromanage a talented individual. Hire them, orient them to the work and the team, then let them shine and do their work. Offering people autonomy shows you trust them, and micromanaging them shows you don’t.
Prune out mediocrity. As important it is to acknowledge talented individuals, it is just as important to weed out the ones who aren’t performing, meaning more work for those who are already performing well. Expect everyone to pull their weight equally.
Show appreciation. Everyone loves praise and for their contributions and hard work. When you acknowledge your people and thank them for their great work, you energize them and motivate them to keep working hard and excelling at what they do.
Deliver on meaning. The best way to keep people energized is to connect them to the meaning of the work they do. Let them know how their work affects the bigger picture, and transform them by giving them a sense of purpose. What does their excellence do for the wider world? How are they delivering meaning to others? This is a great way to avoid burnout.
Studies show that people who are satisfied with their work life perform better and are likely to stay longer at their jobs and avoid the stresses that cause burnout. Make sure your best people have that kind of satisfaction.
Lead from within: It is the responsibility of every leader to prevent burnout and protect their top talent.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: iStock Photo
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.
02. Jan, 2019
All these things are very well, but there’s one thing that needs keeping in mind; these six tips aren’t things that you can do once and then leave. They need to be kept current. Otherwise, you will find that people can get left doing the same thing for extended periods of time, especially if you are good at your number six, “Deliver on meaning”. If people have a well-developed sense of how their role fits into the Big Picture, then it’s quite possible for their sense of duty or obligation to keep them in a role long after they ought to have moved on.
That happened to me. I had a complex technical role that stood at the foundations of almost everything the organisation did. Very few people understood the extent of the role, or where I stood in the organisation. The upshot of all this was that I ended up doing the same routine but essential job for fifteen years. Little wonder that at the end of that period, I felt I had to get out because I had become so jaded with my role; and by that time, I had probably become too embedded to be able to change direction easily. My line managers had to deliver day-to-day, year in, year out, and so had a conflict between meeting the expectations on them and allowing me latitude to do anything different. Their peers didn’t see me as an individual and so had no idea of what my abilities were and could not conceive of me doing anything other that working in the IT engine room, shovelling data into the analytical furnaces. I had to step away from that role totally and do something completely different for a couple of years. It cost me a lot materially, and the organisation lost the perspective I could offer; but it was the only thing I could do under the circumstances.