Lead Your Team Out of Burnout

The “Great Resignation” is upon us and it’s impacting organizations and teams. Leaders are forced to face the growing issue of burnout that is leading to sweeping turnover across the globe, while they often feel burned out too.

According to a poll conducted by Indeed, 52% of respondents feel burned out.

Leaders are realizing the importance of burnout and mental health and beginning to make it a priority. They recognize the high costs of high turnover and the time spent interviewing and negotiating with candidates in a super-job-seeker-friendly economy. Simply put, it’s smarter to make the effort needed to retain your team, rather than hire and train a new one.

According to Gallup, the top five causes of burnout are:

  1.     Unfair treatment at work
  2.     Unmanageable workload
  3.     Unclear communication from managers
  4.     Lack of manager support
  5.     Unreasonable time pressure

Another cause of burnout is a lack of clear boundaries and scope of work. When team members receive emails and messages all day, night, and weekend, they feel pressured to always be “on.” High performers have a hard time saying “no” and will take heavy loads that wear them down over time.

Here are some ideas to establish and maintain healthy boundaries and minimize burnout on your team:

  1. Establish clear working hours for everyone on the team. This does not necessarily mean everyone is working the same hours. It means that everyone is crystal clear about who is available when.
  2. Set guidelines for how to communicate outside of scheduled office hours. Some teams elect only to email/message each other during the defined office hours. If someone is working outside of those hours, they can set their email to send later during established hours.
  3. Examine your mission and goals and assess if they are realistic given your resources. What would happen if you did 10% less? What has a low return on investment? What are you doing just because it’s always been done that way? Look for ways to cut back.
  4. Utilize each person’s strengths. Swap roles and tasks so that the people accountable enjoy the work, and it plays to their talents and skills. Consider StrengthsFinders as a way to identify the strengths of each person.
  5. Establish a process by which team members can ask for support when needed and reward and reinforce this behavior.
  6. Build in connection moments with your team every day. Be intentional with activities, structured and unstructured that bond, energize, and de-stress the team. Listen to the Leading Better Teams Podcast, Episode #1, where I talk about Three Ways to Connect Your Team in 15 Minutes or Less.
  7. Call out the elephant in the room. Take away the shame of feeling burned out by talking about it and engaging the team in healthy conversations about creating and maintaining a healthy work culture.

Leaders realize that they must support their team’s mental health if they want to sustain happy and high-performing teams. There is no single solution to burnout, and working together, teams can identify what they need to do to create a healthy culture where each workday feels good.

Are you looking for some ideas to manage your stress level?

Consider this night-time journaling process or Emotional Freedom Technique. Both have been very helpful to me.

About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams and the Forward, community, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.

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