Are you a manager struggling to balance pushing your team enough to hit objectives and goals, but not pushing them so hard that they break? It’s the constant struggle that so many leaders face every day because, on one hand, you want to drive your team to do better and accomplish more.
On the other, though, you have to know when to say enough and give your team a break. If you push them until they hit burnout, you’re going to have a group of discouraged employees who aren’t productive and maybe even contemplating leaving the company.
How to Spot Burnout
You’re not always going to be able to spot burnout in every employee, because everyone reacts differently to stress and intense environment. But there are some key things you should keep your eyes open for.
Reduced Energy and Efficiency
Is your team working extra hours, but not making extra progress? Do you have a member that gets there early and leaves late, but still isn’t pulling their own weight? It’s possible that they’re suffering from major burnout, and can’t focus long enough to be productive. Instead of taking a step back, they’re pushing themselves more, making their burnout worse.
Finding more mistakes in your team’s work than usual? If they’re overworking themselves, they are probably not able to see their mistakes as they happen, leaving them for you to catch.
Increased Anger and Frustration
If you have a team member who is normally level headed and calm lose his cool, it’s possible that it is because of burnout. Burnout and work exhaustion can lead to irritability, anger, and an increased feeling of frustration at work and with those around them. Don’t take it personally – it’s what they are going through.
How to Help with Burnout
Okay, so your team is burning out and running themselves into the ground. How do you help them?
This is huge! If they’re working 8 hours straight every single day, they’re going to feel exhausted and run down. Schedule time each day or week for them to take a break and refocus themselves. Whether it’s a weekly office lunch, a monthly outing to a new place, or encouraging extra-long lunch breaks or water cooler meetings, giving them a little space can make a huge difference.
Don’t force your team to focus on multiple things at once. Instead of pushing them to multitask, try to encourage ‘monotasking’, which is focusing on just one task at a time. Being able to focus 100% on one thing may make them a lot more likely to succeed with that task.
This is the biggest one. If you suspect that an employee is suffering from burnout, don’t give them a hard time – be empathetic and compassionate. Consider approaching them before they have to come to you, and asking them what is wrong.
Maybe it’s not burnout, and they need some space to deal with their personal problems – or maybe you’ve given them a task they feel they can’t accomplish and need increased team support to hit their goals.
Listen to your team and address their needs. That’s what a good leader does, and more importantly, what a good person does. By taking care of your team, you’re ensuring their future success, and with it, your own.