To my fellow leaders, you know the ones of you who pride themselves on making the seemingly impossible. Those of us who can create from almost nothing. Those of you who pride yourself inability to multitask and get many tasks done in such a small amount of time. You are amazing!
However, we need to realize that we are one of a kind and that the unique skill set is neither typical nor average. I believe that everyone has different gifts, but it's essential to be mindful that most people do not operate the way we do for us maverick leaders. Our passion brings purpose and drives, making it easier for us to feel less overwhelmed because what we are doing brings us so much joy. However, those that work for us might have a very different outlook on life and their work. These employees might be working because it provides a reliable job for the family. They are good employees, but they do not have the same passion drive, and that is understandable.
As high achievers, we have high expectations, consistent and demanding. However, if we place this constant pressure on others, it can lead to burnout. As leaders, we need to be mindful of this and be more sensitive to those we lead. I used to say that I could work in circles around others, which is still largely accurate. However, it is because I am fully vested in and responsible for the outcomes of my businesses. As a business owner, my responsibility does not end when others check out for the day; my responsibility is constant.
As a leader, you are the life force of the organization and have to continue to innovate and plan for the foreseeable and for the unforeseeable future. That being said, you have to be nimble as you navigate in today's ever-changing work environment. We cannot put these expectations on those in which we lead, and we also realized that everyone's gifting is different, so it's essential to know the skills, passions, and the why behind why those who follow your work with you. So my fellow leaders sometimes, though I hate to say this, must lower our expectations to reduce frustrations that we might have that arguably are not realistic.
Here are a few tips to help reduce the likelihood of your employees burning out:
1. Create a workplace culture of wellness. Have policies that employees need to take their breaks and not eat at their desks. Encourage having your employees take walks during their breaks and get some fresh air. The best thing you can do is to model this behavior. If you are not practicing wellness in your own life, this can negatively impact your team's overall health.
2. Create a collegial atmosphere at the office. It could organize activities outside of the office that encourages collaboration & nurture relationships.
3. Check your bias: Do you favor certain employees because they fit your description of being "dedicated"? Have you made the time to get to know your employees, and what makes them feel appreciated and valued? Do you respectfully speak to them?
4. Do you regularly have employees do self-evaluation and peer evaluations? Self-reflection is critical. So often, the more productive employees feel frustrated if they feel the other employees are not pulling their weight. This leads to unequal distribution of the work &, frankly, frustration in the workplace. As hard as it is, leaders must be willing to make painful decisions. Progressive disciplinary actions for employees that continuously do not meet Work expectations despite adequate coaching and support.
5. Do you have structured weekly or monthly on 1s with your top-performing employees? This allows for open dialogue about different issues that may arise without them feeling judged by their peers. It also provides an opportunity to thank you for the job well done. At the same time, it gives constructive feedback to help them improve where needed.
Maverick leaders, you set the tone of your business, and you can be the difference between the success of your team and the possible demise.