It’s the middle of the year. In the southern hemisphere, we are entering winter. It’s cold! For many businesses, it’s the season where employee burnout really starts to show.
What causes burnout?
According to one US study, unfair compensation (41 percent), unreasonable workload (32 percent), and too much overtime / after-hours work (32 percent) are the top three contributors to burnout, per the study.
As leader, you don’t have full power to change things like their pay rate, but there are other things you can do to stave off burnout and keep your team focused on peak performance.
There are four key strategies you can employ. Let’s take a look at them.
Health and well-being
If you’re working all the time like a crazy workaholic, that’s what your team thinks you expect of them. So, it’s more important than ever that you model the behaviours you want your team to adopt. Start by making sure you and your team take a break throughout the day. Rest the brain, stretch the legs and release the negative energy inside.
Keep the energy flowing
It’s the lack of energy which is devastating to your team members and to your performance levels. You need to bring the energy back. You can do this in a number of ways. The best way is to have some fun. Work doesn’t have to be dull. Look at places like Google and Facebook. Take time out and take the team to lunch, or start a competition everyone can be part of. Try something silly like forming teams and tossing ping pong balls into a cup. If you want inspiration for fun activities, visit the Guinness World Records website.
It’s childish stuff but remember how much energy you had as a child? There’s a message there!
You can spread energy by sharing your own. It’s contagious. When you smile, others smile. When you are positive and tell people how good they are, they learn to do the same thing.
Interestingly, studies have found positive emotions seem to spread faster than negative, so make them work for you by modelling the behaviour you want to see. There’s nothing like a pat on the back to lift your energy.
When things are tough, a leader’s presence is like a security blanket.
Think about the way presidents and prime ministers are actively seen out and about after a crisis. It motivates people and makes them feel less alone. It is the same in the workplace. Your team will feel that everything will be OK because you are there.
Being present means being seen. Go out and talk to your team. Get out of your office, if you have one, and spend time with them. Speak to each person. Tell them how well they are doing. Listen when they need you to. It is time consuming, but the results are worth it.
Acknowledge the challenge
It’s important to show that you understand how your team members are feeling. Acknowledge the stresses and pressures, and acknowledge their feelings. All it takes is for their leader to recognise how they feel, and people feel the load is a little easier to carry.
The trouble is, when burnout comes close, being leader is often the last thing you want to do. Leadership responsibilities can’t be turned off at will so take this time to delegate any tasks you shouldn’t be doing. Create space in your calendar. You too need to take time for some self-care. That’s the time for some self-care. Acknowledge how you feel and give yourself the same consideration you give your team. You deserve it, too. Remember what the safety instructions are on flights? That’s right, fit your own oxygen mask first, so you can be of service to others. The same applies here.
Burnout is always a risk in our busy workplaces, but if you are armed with these strategies, you will be well positioned to keep it at bay.
Looking for more strategies to keep the mid-year blues away? Take a look at my new video below.