Beating leadership burnout

Overworked young entrepreneur taking a break from all the work in his home office.

While post-viral fatigue is a real medical condition affecting the physical body, pandemic burnout is about your mental health, especially in a professional setting. As we approach the late stages of the pandemic burnout is no doubt affecting everyone from new graduates to long-time industry leaders, and it’s important to take it seriously. 

Here are three great tips to revitalise exhausted teams. 

Build team trust to manage stress

The American Psychological Association says leaders need to leverage their own credibility to build trust in order to reduce stress. Model mindful working behaviours. Home-working team seem to be available all hours? Send a regular ‘good morning’ email around 9/9.30am to remind them there is no need to check emails over breakfast.

If you are back in the office, make sure you demonstrate taking a break and leaving work at a sensible time – your people have homes to go to, and they don’t want to feel pressured into being bums on seats. Now is not the time to micromanage. Check out the In-company Trust and Team Cuture course to discover a smart solution for organisations. 

Urgency vs Importance

Feeling like you handled the pandemic better in the beginning? Research shows that sudden uncertainty places humans in a state of arousal, where we can access shallow reserves to help us push through. Those reserves have all been used up now. The pandemic isn’t exciting anymore, it is frustrating and a bit boring, and is requiring us to dig deep.

The Harvard Business Review says the response requires some emotional rewiring, and the first step is understanding the difference between urgency and importance. In a time of crisis it is easy to push everything aside except what is most urgent, and leave future plans on the back burner. But this limbo can be disconcerting.

Manage urgency carefully so you don’t use up all your team’s reserves, then engage people with important future plans – because there is a future, and we need to be prepared for it. IMNZ’s Think on your Feet course could help you communicate this message to your teams.

Future focus

We’ve been living hand to mouth for the best part of 18 months, stressing about balance sheets, project progression, and what we will all do if things don’t quite pan out. Now, we are starting to get a glimpse of the future, the security that the vaccine is bringing – it is time to make plans again. 

Start by celebrating your successes – remote working went well? Decisions were made faster? Decide what you can take and build on for the future. Consult with your team, find out what is important to them. Do they want more flexibility? Should there be greater focus on wellbeing?

What project ideas do they want to take forward? Give them agency and ownership as we moved into our next normal. The Project Management Fundamentals course is a great way for those looking to build confidence in managing projects and improve project performance. 

IMNZ offer a range people and performance management training courses, to help improve people management skills for collaboration success. View them here.

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