There are two very real challenges that many leaders and business owners will face, or may have already faced. Furthermore, if we neglect these challenges, like compound interest, they are likely to grow. Moreover, they will negatively impact future growth and success. Both in terms of health, which can impact long term goals and aspirations and income. In recent months, we have seen an escalation of these challenges and the results. Therefore, we must first know what they are and, second, be bold enough to tackle them head on. So, what are these two challenges leaders face? They are burn out, and what I call, check out. The reality is that staff may leave, and those that stay may suffer from exhaustion, becoming more disengaged and unproductive. Something to avoid at all cost.
Are you or your leaders on the verge of checking out?
Prior to the global pandemic, we were already witnessing a serious issue with growing disengagement in the general workforce. Productivity has been falling, and attention levels are diminishing at a rapid rate. It is common knowledge that our attention span is said to be around a mere eight seconds. In addition to this, with millions of people working from home, the working landscape is changing. While it was difficult and challenging for many to adapt to a new way of working, the result is startling. Thousands have woken up to the benefits of working from home. Indeed, some companies, such as the Bank of America have struggled to entice their workers back to the office. Others have instigated creative solutions and are focusing on ensuring the office is a fun place to come to.
Despite some people preferring to return to the office, thousands now realise they can perform just as effectively without going to the office. Indeed, people who were once dedicated to working long hours in the office, awoke to a new day. One, while challenging at times, presented more time for exercise, attending kids school sporting events and activities and more family connection. Some leaders and companies now embrace new hybrid working models.
In addition, there has been a shift due to social isolation and travel restrictions. Millions of people have a pent up desire to travel, quit their jobs or reconnect with families and friends overseas. Moreover, a realisation if they can work from home, they can work in another country. We even have a term for this, the mass resignation. To me, the equivalent of checking out.
Why empathy and connection are keys for keeping staff
While there will always be movement in the workplace, I believe leaders can learn from and adopt strategies to help keep staff.
- Understand what drives your staff.
- Make the workplace a fun place to come to.
- Show some kindness and empathy. It’s important to show you care and remember, you are dealing with humans. Tribes not transactions.
- Find out what your staff value, what they want, and furthermore, what else they require at work to increase retention.
- Be open to feedback. Nick, a business colleague who manages a large sales team, reverses the role in staff reviews. The staff get the opportunity to let him know what they think of his performance, level of support and where he could improve!
- If you are thinking of checking out, heading overseas or to another company, get clear on your why. Sometimes we make impulsive decisions because people we know are doing it too. Consider carefully if it is right for you. Moreover, could there be another way to get back what you feel missing in your work?
We all want respect, to be heard and to find meaning in our lives
Finally, in a brilliant speech from Peter Kaufmann, he believes that everybody wants these five things:
- To be paid attention to
- Listened to
- To have meaning and fulfilment
‘I mean, is there really anybody here who doesn’t want to be paid attention to? How many of you want to be listened to? Respected? How many of you want meaning, satisfaction, and fulfilment in your life in the sense that you matter? ‘ Peter Kaufman
When you focus on any or all of the above, you are truly becoming one of the great new leaders required today. A leader who leads with heart rather than ruling by fear or simply the profit line. You are touching the core of what most of us desire. To be shown respect. For someone to listen to us without interrupting. To be guided to find more meaning and significance in and outside the workplace. Moreover, simple, yet powerful lenses that make up a leaders or champion’s mindset. Finally, being consistent in your intentions, attentions and actions is paramount for great leaders and important in retaining and engaging staff.
Burnout creeps is the second challenge that seeps into leaders performances
In 2018, Gallup found that 28 percent of millennials reported feeling frequently or constantly burned out at work. Furthermore, an additional 45% said they sometimes felt burned out. Jennifer Moss, surveying 1500 workers globally in the autumn of 2020, for a report called Beyond Burnout, found that respondents reported higher levels of exhaustion and cynicism than respondents had before the pandemic.
Fast forward to today. There is more fatigue and exhaustion as a result of the scale of challenges. Perhaps you, as a leader, or your leaders are feeling burnt out, depleted or stale? Maybe it’s time to take stock of your situation? I know I became exhausted late last year. I committed to serve during the pandemic, but everything comes at a cost. However, a few weeks away from work did the trick for me! Camping, connection and nature do wonders for our energy levels.
Additionally, over the past two years, I have coached numerous professionals and business leaders who have done an incredible job keeping their business going and growing. However, they often lose sight of the importance of taking care of themselves. Just like a battery, we cannot go forever without being recharged or replaced.
Leaders need to take a few hours off regularly to do something that brings meaning
If you have been super busy throughout the last two years, chances are you need a break? And if you can’t take a longer break right now, start small. Schedule a few hours off each week and be consistent with honouring this time for yourself. Do something you love. Connect with people, play sport or simply chill out. Honouring the fact that you are a human being not a human doing, helps. Moreover, pause and take time to work out what is really important to you. What matters to you in your life. Dig deep and discover what motivates and inspires you. What is your compelling why to do what you do?
Finally, one of the best ways for leaders to work out what is important, is to seek out an expert coach or mentor. You simply cannot see yourself through the same lens as someone else. We tend to view our lives through our brain not our eyes. A brain that holds beliefs, attitudes, biases, opinions and records of the past. A fresh perspective is a key for growth, learning and creativity. Like al committed athletes, leaders and driven professionals must have a coach.
“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become.” Jim Rohn
Shifting perspectives is a skill all great leaders employ
There is always another way of looking at things. If you are stale in your job find a new way of adding in some interest. Go for a walk or run at lunchtime. Find a gym close to work, or create a time-out break where you commit to have fun. Be creative in shifting your perspective. And if you are feeling you are on the edge of burnout, take a break. That is what I believe great leaders do. Live by example and teach by example.
Finally, practice kindness. Be kind to yourself. This is a vital lens for all leaders to embrace right now. Moreover, this may require rest, reflection and self care. Embracing a mindset of curiosity is super helpful too. Newton’s Third Law of Motion says:
‘For every action there will always be an equal and opposite reaction.’ Isaac Newton
See how you can find and equal and opposite reaction to the one you may be taking now. That is what leaders who are great, do. And, always remember, nothing lasts forever. Time moves on and people come and people go. Some stay and some will leave. Your key skill is to navigate as best as you can through a world where one thing is certain, and that is change.
About the Author
Mandy Napier is a Global High Performance Mindset Coach who is dedicated to supporting high achievers fulfil their potential and achieve extraordinary results professionally and personally. Transformations are the norm, and results guaranteed.
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