Burnout continues to be a hot topic for leaders in organizations, leaving many leaders at a loss for a solution to boost employee morale.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations and teams have had to navigate more uncertainty than ever before. First, our teams had to navigate the early days of lockdown. We learned to work from home and adjust our business plans as best we could to ride out COVID. Now, it feels as though we are in an unrelenting cycle of uncertainty that has caused its own pandemic of burnout. Where do we go from here?
The Pandemic of Burnout
Coping with unprecedented levels of uncertainty is emotionally exhausting for our team members and can lead to anxiety and fatigue. Studies have shown that symptoms of anxiety and depression have increased in adults throughout the pandemic. When we are anxious and overwhelmed by what we cannot control our brains began to shut down to avoid stress triggers. This paralysis and emotional exhaustion leaves us disengaged from our jobs and causes burnout.
Pandemic-related stress is causing massive burnout and low employee engagement leading to what some are calling The Great Resignation. In fact, the Microsoft Work Trend Index found that 46% of people want to change jobs this year and the Labor Department estimates that a record 4 million people decided to leave their jobs in April.
How to Control the Controllable to Break Free from Burnout
So, what can leaders and teams do? As we navigate this growing pandemic of burnout within our teams and organizations, it’s important to help our teams identify what they can control. When we identify what we can control, we can begin regaining our sense of agency and break free of the paralysis of burnout. Learning to control the controllable can help us feel less overwhelmed by uncertainty and more empowered to act.
Start by having your team create a list of things that they can control—their attitude, their mindset and their response to stress. Then have them create a list of what they cannot control— other people’s actions and opinions, cancelations and restrictions, and what will happen next.
When we reset our outlook to focus on what is controllable, we can release the stress of uncertainty and build resilience. We can choose where our energy goes before the world chooses for us.
Be Gentle on Your Team and Yourself
Leading with a perfectionist attitude is another way to create burnout and drain the energy of your team. When perfectionists put their energy toward things that they can’t control it ends in disaster and exhaustion.
Think about the best coaches in the world. They recognize that there are factors they cannot control—whether their players avoid injury, who their opponent is, whether the referee’s calls go their way. They emphasize to their team members, a “next play” mentality that inspires resilience. Embracing imperfection allows you to shift your energy toward what you can control, unlocking energy for what matters most.
Nowhere have we seen this shift on display more than in the world of sports. Over the past year, we have seen a shift in athletes’ mindsets around mental health and perfectionism. Athletes at the top of their game like Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles evoked the power of “no” and acknowledged that to be imperfect is to be human. When they withdrew from the competition they chose to show themselves grace and reset their energy. They chose to focus on long-term results, not short-term rewards.
The road to beat burnout is a marathon, not a sprint. As a leader, you have to know when to push and when to step back. As any athlete will tell you, recovery is a critical component of performance. This will allow moments for your team to recover so they can be engaged and energized to perform when it counts.
Help Your Team Eliminate Drainers that Cause Burnout
Another great way to help your team break free from burnout is to guide them through an energy audit. An energy audit will help your team get clear on what gives them energy and what drains their energy. The audit will help give them clarity to schedule their time in a way that maximizes their energy and helps them feel empowered in these uncertain times.
Check out our free Leader’s Energy Audit to help guide you through a conversation with your teams about boosting their energy and workplace performance.
Schedule a Free Strategy Call
Looking for more resources to help your team break free of burnout? Schedule a free call with our team to learn more about what our The Energized Leader™ training can do for you and your team. Through the training, you’ll discover how to align your energy with the important so that you can achieve freedom, flow, and break free from burnout.
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams, and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. The Energized Leader Training helps you and your team align your energy with the important and avoid costly burnout. Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Her Leadership Huddles are a monthly group coaching community to guide you towards your full potential. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.