March 15, 2023
Four Ways Leaders Help to Heal from Burnout
As a country, we know that burnout persists. The Hartford found that more than 60% percent of U.S. workers were experiencing burnout, of the group who reported always feeling burnt out, 55% planned to find another job in the next 6 months. Leaders can keep their talent and repair their fatigued nervous systems with a few simple, and deliberate tactics.
First, leaders should be on the lookout for signs of burnout in their teams, and be committed to helping employees heal at the foundational level. Leaders can observe the interpersonal indicators that have to do with the way team members engage with one another, the leader, and the workplace. Lower and negative levels of engagement can point to burnout.
Concrete business indicators can include the following:
- Slower than normal output – Teams arrive at solutions slower. They’re slower to complete assignments.
- Underperformance – Ineffective solutions and outcomes.
- Reduced collaboration and feedback – Fewer suggestions and less input provided by team members
Even if none of these symptoms appear to present themselves on your team now, you don’t have to wait for them to crop up to act. Leaders are proactively putting resources in place to protect their team from burnout and heal those on their team who are in burnout recovery. They’re making small changes that don’t need much time to see/feel improvements. These adjustments, although small, show workers hope and consideration that makes all the difference.
Four Easy Ways To Soothe And Prevent Burnout:
#1. Prioritize Self-Care
In a challenging and uncertain business climate, there is an expectation that people will need to do more work. But don’t expect your team to pull a rabbit out of a hat. They need rest and recuperation to deliver on higher expectations.
- Lead by example. Take PTO, and encourage breaks. Encourage healthy lifestyle habits.
- Factor in self-care as you formulate a healthy plan to achieve your team’s objectives.
- Resist assigning too many projects, and limit the timing between introducing new projects to your team. Leave room for them to breathe and produce good results.
#2. Increase Value Expressions at Work
Fatigue can set in when workers are putting in a lot of effort, and not seeing any impact. You can help them see the impact their work makes.
- Acknowledge team members publically, and thank them individually.
- Give a gift. – In a tight economy, a small reward that tells employees you see their effort can accomplish the goal in a budget-friendly manner.
- Show how workers directly contribute to the corporate mission. – Rewards are helpful for some, but not everyone thrives on rewards alone. Everyone wants their work to have a purpose and bear fruit. Show them their value with stories about how their work played a part in specific outcomes. Give names and faces to the outcomes. Employees can feel reinvigorated when they see clear outcomes their work produces.
#3. Get Workers to Engage in Career Development
Make use of the talent development mechanisms your HR team has in place. Your HR team has put a lot of thought and research into bringing in the support you need to fuel healthy teams. They’ve even thought of you, the leader. Take advantage of coaching for yourself to become better at leading through tough times and encourage your team to use coaches to grow in their own careers.
Coaching geared toward career development helps your team members feel at the emotional level that they’re going somewhere in their careers. Workers in coaching programs can more easily look through the current challenges and feel excited about new opportunities they can take advantage of. They see the future more optimistically because they focus on the bigger picture, instead of getting too caught up in the immediate challenges of the day.
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#4. Promote Cohesive Teams
Right now, managers can change the experience for workers in teams by leading the charge on a cohesive approach that can improve relationships and productivity all at once. Leaders can bring five components of a cohesive team to the forefront of how their people engage and collaborate. Author and business coach, Patrick Lencioni characterizes the five components of a cohesive team like this:
- Trust – Team members feel safe and respected enough that they communicate honestly with the best intentions in mind.
- Conflict – Team members engage in a healthy debate that brings to light the best strategies and solutions.
- Commitment – Team members agree to proceed with solutions based on their belief in the selection process and not on their agreement with the selection. Commitment is rooted in a shared goal.
- Accountability – Team members accept accountability for their personal responsibilities to the group. They understand what’s expected of them.
- Results – Teams reach their shared goals and feel personally gratified.
Leaders can start teams on a path toward healthier functioning by visiting with them about these five competencies and giving their team autonomy to navigate these components themselves.
With a few immediate actions, managers and leaders can redirect their team’s energy and help them to see improvements in the way they feel at a physiological level. Small improvements in the workplace environment can help people rebuild, reinvigorate, and thrive in their organizations.
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