When a crisis hits, your team is more likely to start experiencing burnout. They’re feeling more stress, working longer hours and putting in more focused effort than usual. The combination is one that often leaves people feeling fatigued and irritated—in short, burned out. It’s especially common in an extended crisis where people are not only stressed over work issues but also dealing with the effects on their personal and family life.
Managing a burned-out team is challenging for even the most experienced leader. But taking care of your people is an important part of leadership, and there are lots of ways you can make a tough time easier on them—which in turn minimizes the effects of burnout within your organization.
This is how I coach the top leaders I work with in protecting their team:
Inquire instead of making demands. Ask your team about their workload, their stress, and whether they have the resources they need. Make sure you’re asking the questions that will help you understand how your team is feeling about the demands and pressures they face so you can know how to help. Meet people where they are and you can lead them effectively and productively.
Emphasize the positive and downplay the negative. When the pressure is on, it’s easy to keep your focus on the things that are going wrong. I coach my leaders to make a concerted effort to emphasize what’s working well and going right. When you encourage your team in high-stress times, you’re giving them the motivation they need to keep going.
Manage expectations and forget the assumptions. Especially in difficult times, manage your expectations and don’t make assumptions, you want to make sure the things you ask of your team are achievable. As a leader it is important to bring plenty of empathy and understanding. Make sure people know that you rely on their feedback to keep expectations reasonable. The more empathy you demonstrate, the more productivity and positivity your team will be capable of. Show them compassion and they will show you increased energy and commitment
Appreciate instead of criticizing. It can be challenging to summon gratitude when stress is high. But when your team is working hard and going the extra mile, it’s part of your job to express appreciation for their efforts and accomplishments. I always tell my clients that the best leaders find reasons to build up their team on a regular basis and tell them how much they’re valued.
Remember that even the most committed team members are susceptible to burnout, especially in times of crisis. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your people are immune.
Take the time to evaluate your team’s well-being and implement measures to prevent and address burnout. Each person has a different reaction to stress, and it’s your job as a leader to bring out the best of everyone.
Lead from within: The best leaders protect their most important asset—their team—because burnout is bad for people and for business. But with thoughtful leadership, it’s always possible to turn things around.
#1 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:
- How Great Leadership is Generated in Significant Crisis
- How to Lead Your Team When The Future Is Uncertain
- The One Aspect Of Crisis Management That No One Talks About
- How The Best Leaders Are Already Planning Past The Crisis
- How to Engage Employees During Uncertain Times
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
Photo Credit: iStockPhotos
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.