The Burnout Battle: Why Leaders Must Lead the Charge By Jessica Rector

The Burnout Battle: Why Leaders Must Lead the Charge By Jessica Rector

Burnout is impacting every industry, company and role. There are no exceptions.  Leaders often find themselves in the trenches, navigating through the chaos, and driving their teams towards success. However, amidst the pursuit of goals and objectives, there’s a lurking enemy that can undermine all efforts – burnout.   In the burnout battle, we often find the great divide.

Leaders believe that their employees aren’t being impacted by burnout or that their people have everything they need to beat it.   Yet, employees are struggling in the day to day and believe they don’t have the strategies, tools or support to help them.   We call this the burnout gap (the distance between what leaders think and how employees feel).

Much of the burnout battle, begins with educating leaders not only on the importance of burnout but also the urgency of it, because burnout won’t go away on its own or work itself out. You must be intentional and strategic as a leader and organization to prevent it.  Our research has uncovered two components of burnout: the company and individuals. More specifically, a company’s culture and an individual’s habits.  If one of these is misaligned it will lead to burnout. Your organization might have a wellness program, but that solely focuses on what employees can do to prevent or beat burnout in themselves, so it leaves out almost half of the contributing factors for burnout.

In other words, if employees work through a wellness program, they will still be headed toward burnout, because it doesn’t incorporate the company side of the contributing factors to burnout. For leaders, preventing burnout is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must do.   Here’s why it’s crucial for leaders to take proactive measures to prevent and combat burnout within their teams, along with microstep, a small action leaders can take for massive results.

Burnout Kills Productivity

Burnout doesn’t just sap employees’ energy and enthusiasm; it also wreaks havoc on productivity. Exhausted and disengaged workers are far less likely to perform at their peak, resulting in missed deadlines, more mistakes, and decreased efficiency. The detrimental outcomes often can lead to safety issues and enhance cybersecurity attacks. When leaders fail to address burnout, they inadvertently sabotage their team’s performance and jeopardize the organization’s bottom line.

Microstep: Find one way to acknowledge or appreciate your people at least on a weekly basis. When employees get recognition six times a year (once every other month), performance increases by 32%, according to WorkHuman. Imagine if they received recognition weekly how much their performance would increase.

Burnout Breeds Disengagement

A burned-out workforce is a disengaged workforce. When employees feel overwhelmed and undervalued, their commitment to the job dwindles, and they become more prone to absenteeism and turnover, which costs U.S. employers $300 billion annually due to burnout. Leaders who turn a blind eye to burnout risk losing their top talent to competitors and creating a toxic culture of apathy and discontent.

Microstep: Address the elephant in the room and start talking about burnout. When you talk about burnout, employees lean in and become engaged, knowing that you’re creating a safe place where they will be met with compassion, empathy, and understanding. They recognize their work community is operating on the same foundation on which they can all build and thrive.

Burnout Undermines Creativity and Innovation

Innovation thrives in environments where individuals are energized, motivated, and encouraged to think outside the box. Unfortunately, burnout stifles creativity and dampens innovation. Exhausted minds lack the clarity and focus needed to generate fresh ideas and problem-solve effectively. By neglecting to address burnout, leaders inadvertently stifle their team’s creativity and hinder their organization’s ability to adapt and thrive in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

Microstep: Encourage frequent breaks. You people are most productive when you work for 50 minutes and take a 10-minute break. Instead of pushing through to finish a project or a task, give their brains the time and space to unwind and decompress. When they get back to it, they’re more creative and innovative and are able to finish things faster by taking that much needed break.

Burnout Damages Health and Well-being

Beyond its impact on productivity and performance, burnout takes a significant toll on employees’ health and well-being. Chronic stress and overwork can lead to a host of physical and mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, cardiovascular problems, and weakened immune systems. Leaders who prioritize the bottom line over their team’s well-being not only jeopardize individual health but also incur long-term costs in terms of healthcare expenses and employee morale.

Microstep: Implement more fun into the work days. Fun and work aren’t mutually exclusive. The more fun employees have at work, the more they will stay at the company. Fun shows up in different ways for people. Trivia, contests, ropes courses, or karaoke—ask them what they like to do for fun and then do it.

Burnout Leads to Leadership Failure

Ultimately, leaders bear the responsibility for the well-being and success of their teams. Failing to address burnout is a failure of leadership. Leaders who ignore the warning signs of burnout, or worse, contribute to its proliferation through unrealistic expectations and poor management practices, risk damaging their reputation and undermining their credibility as effective leaders. The ability to recognize, prevent, and address burnout is a fundamental skill that separates great leaders from mediocre ones.

Microstep: Do a two-word check in. Ask your team, “How are you really feeling,” and don’t allow them to say, “Fine.” Inspire them to tap into other feelings. When they say anxious, stressed, depressed, sad, hesitant or words like these, it’s an opportunity to dive into a deeper conversation and ask, “How can I help,” which lets them know you care about them as a real person and not just a worker.

The battle against burnout is more critical than ever. Leaders who prioritize the well-being of their employees and take proactive steps to prevent and combat burnout are not only fostering a healthier and more engaged workforce but also safeguarding the long-term success of their organizations. By leading by example, cultivating a supportive work culture, and promoting life-work alignment, leaders can empower their teams to thrive under any circumstance. Remember, the fight against burnout begins at the top – and it’s a battle worth waging.

About the Author, Jessica Rector

Jessica Rector, MBA, author of the #1 best-selling “Blaze Your Brain to Extinguish Burnout” and nine other books, helps organizations, leaders, and teams Say Yes to eradicate burnout and enhance mental health.  As a burnout trailblazer, her research is used in her consulting and speaking and often shared on her podcast, “The Say Yes Experience.” For how Jessica can help your organization and team, go to www.jessicarector.com

 

Five Ways to Make Joy a Core KPI by Liz Matthews & Amy Jo Martin

Five Ways to Make Joy a Core KPI by Liz Matthews & Amy Jo Martin

Are you happy at work? Here’s how to boost the often-overlooked KPI of joy.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are foundational to most jobs. These useful measurements help companies understand progress over time. But beyond revenue growth and profit margin, there’s one KPI some managers overlook: JOY!

How happy are your employees? Perhaps more importantly, what’s your own level of joy in your job? At Dell Technologies and at Renegade Global—a consulting practice that helps people invest in their personal brand and growth—we see the people in our businesses, not just the professionals.

Make Play Nonnegotiable!

Play goes hand in hand with curiosity, which in turn fuels engagement. When you prioritize play, you combat opposing feelings of burnout and even depression.

Diversify Your Sources of Happiness

There are different kinds of happiness: “rock star,” which you might experience after a big win; “flow,” which happens when you’re caught up in something you enjoy; and “higher purpose,” which occurs when you focus on something bigger than yourself. You need all three.

Avoid the Three Ps (Perfectionish, People Pleasing & Personalizing)

Of the common pitfalls people tend to fall into at work, three Ps top the list: perfectionism (seeking an unattainable standard), people-pleasing (never putting yourself first) and personalizing (making things “about you”). Be sure to give yourself—and others—the grace to make mistakes. Prioritize your own needs and remember that not everything is personal.

Overcome Difficult Conversations

Effective communication is an art form. When you have a difficult conversation ahead, consider the following steps:

  • Vent to a neutral third party (not colleagues) to release tension.
  • Empathize with the other person’s perspective.
  • Rehearse what you want to say.
  • Ask for what you need—then stop talking.
  • Check in weekly.

Here at Dell and within Renegade Global, we have seen great results with weekly check-ins, asking questions such as:

  1. Which activities did I love?
  2. Which ones did I loathe?
  3. What are my priorities?
  4. What help do others need from me?

With these tips in mind, you can transcend clichés about work-life balance and make joy a core Key Performance Indicator of your job.

Authors:  Liz Matthews is a Senior Vice President of Global Brand, Dell Technologies, and Amy Jo Martin, CEO and founder, Renegade Global

 

Why I Joined the American Business Women’s Association by Ka’Ryn Holder-Jackson, Ph.D.

Why I Joined the American Business Women’s Association by Ka’Ryn Holder-Jackson, Ph.D.

To view the complete video, “WHY I JOINED ABWA” – Click the link and/or copy and paste the link into the internet search field:  https://youtu.be/iqHYOG_rmcg

About ABWA Member, Dr. Ka’Ryn Holder-Jackson

Dr. Ka’Ryn Holder-Jackson is a dynamic innovative business executive; her expertise is leadership training and development, strategic planning, and organizational development. An articulate, diplomatic, interpersonal communicator with an uncommon ability to influence, motivate, inspire, and communicate with diverse constituents,

A native of San Francisco, she is a graduate of San Francisco State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, the University of Phoenix, where she earned a Master’s of Business Administration and Capella University where she earned a Doctorate in Human Services.

Ka’Ryn presently serves as the Executive Director of ACCEL San Mateo County Adult Education Consortium where she leads a Ka’Ryn leads a coalition of regional education, training, business and industry partners bridging the gap between employer demand for an educated and skilled workforce and the supply of workers with the necessary skills for a 21st century labor market.

As a former Associate Director for the American Diabetes Association, San Francisco Bay Area, Ka’Ryn received honors as the recipient of a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in 2015 from the Honorable Barbara Lee 13th Congressional District of California, In Recognition of Dedication to Educating the Community About Diabetes & the Importance of Health Care.

Ka’Ryn has over 20 years’ experience serving in Executive Management in corporate, for profit, not-for-profit, non-profit, and education Sectors.  She is the CEO of A’Ryze Consulting; a Certified Executive Coach, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Facilitator, and has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry and is a licensed financial services representative.

Awards & Recognition:

  • 2023 Top Ten Business Woman, American Business Women’s Association
  • 2019 Woman of Distinction, American Business Women’s Association
  • 2018 Commendation Board of Supervisors of San Mateo County, California
    for Leadership in our Communities
  • 2015 Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the Honorable Barbara Lee 13th Congressional District of California, In Recognition of Dedication to Educating the Community About Diabetes & the Importance of Health Care.

 

 

What To Do About Burnout When You’re Not Burned-Out, By Jessica Rector

What To Do About Burnout When You’re Not Burned-Out, By Jessica Rector

3 Ways To Keep Burnout From Spreading Like Wildfire

Burnout is impacting every company, position, and industry. With 90% of the workforce experiencing burnout in the last year, you can no longer afford to ignore this epidemic. It’s affecting teams, leaders, and the whole organization…even you.

Even if you’re not the one in burnout, it still impacts you.

Think of it this way. How do you feel the next morning when you don’t get quality sleep the night before? Grumpy? Groggy? Foggy? Impatient, irritable, unfocused? Lack of sleep impacts your perspective, attitude, how you respond to others, and how you react to situations.

The same thing happens with burnout. It doesn’t stay self-contained.

When a team member, let’s say Burnout Betty, has burnout, it impacts how she leads, communicates, listens, focuses, thinks, interacts, her behaviors, energy, mood and disposition.

It literally impacts everything. When one person is in burnout, it also trickles out to others, because burned out people burn others out.

Even if you don’t have burnout, you’re being impacted by it when someone else does or is on the brink of it. You have the power to do something about it.  What can YOU do?

START A DIALOGUE—Begin talking about burnout is the best place to start. Even though burnout is rampant in the workforce, there’s still some stigma around it. People often fear, if they admit they have it, what will others think, do or say. Will my leaders think I can’t do my job? Will they take away responsibilities or will they lose trust in me?

If Burnout Betty (BB) isn’t focused, she becomes distracted, unproductive, and making more errors. She will do the same work multiple times, miss deadlines or forget to meet a client. Those are best case scenarios. BB will easily cut corners leading to cybersecurity attacks, safety issues and possible injuries.

When BB misses deadlines, makes mistakes, or has to redo work, how does that impact you? You might have to stay longer, do some of her work, or maybe your work gets pushed back waiting on her to get her part to you, which means missing dinner with your family, being absent at your kids’ activities, or not meeting your deadlines.

Lean into your storytelling skills. Share your burnout story with BB. When you were in it, what led to burnout in your life, and the strategies you implemented to move past it.

When people are in burnout, they tend to pull away and isolate themselves. When you tell your burnout story, they will start to engage. The more you talk about burnout, the more it reduces this stigma. In the process, you allow others who are experiencing it to not feel alone and to know that someone, somewhere gets it and understands. You create a safe place of compassion and empathy.

This lets others know it’s okay to feel burned out. You can still love your job and be burned out.

CREATE AWARENESS AROUND BURNOUT—Burnout doesn’t discriminate. It’s impacting your people. The more your team knows what to look for and what to do to prevent it, the less likely they will find themselves in it. Develop a keen eye, because you can’t change something you aren’t aware exists.

Since burnout impacts mental health, Burnout Betty is easily frustrated or irritable, making it harder to communicate or interact with her, because others don’t want her mood to affect them. One Burnout Betty, Negative Nancy or Toxic Tim can bring a dynamic team to a halt.

Talking to BB can leave the most positive person in a negative state, because she doesn’t listen or she’s in a bad mood. So, every conversation takes longer than it should, which means less time for you to tend to your daily tasks.

Build a task force of people who want to be the eyes and ears in your organization in regards to burnout. They can gather information, ask questions to BB and other team members, and start creating a strategy to combat this epidemic. Then take the information they gather, and do something now to help them prevent it.

This allows BB to know that she is being heard and understood and that she matters. One of the biggest qualities people want in their company is to know they matter. When BB knows she matters, she feels supported, knowing she will get the help she needs to combat burnout.

Hint: Time off is great, but vacation won’t cure burnout. Once you create awareness around it, share with your people day to day strategies that work to help alleviate burnout.

IMPLEMENT A BURNOUT PROGRAM—This is the key, fundamental element. Talking about it is a great beginning, but it’s imperative to do more. The only way to prevent and address burnout is to be intentional and strategic with it. Workplace wellness programs aren’t enough; 97% of them don’t specifically address or help with burnout, which is also why 80% of employees aren’t actively involved in wellness programs.

As a leader, you have to do your part to help your people with burnout. If you want long term results, your organization MUST implement a continual program (not a one and done) to help people like Burnout Betty with burnout and others to prevent it.

A long-term strategy is where the magic happens with burnout. Burnout is a slow crawl, and working through it is multi-layered. Whether it’s an online course, bootcamp or Train the Trainer certification, burnout training is no longer a “nice to have.” It’s imperative if your company wants to keep their top talent and create a happy, thriving workplace and culture.

The most successful burnout programs have these key components: accountability, support, encouragement, and Q&A.

Burnout doesn’t go away on its own. With most industries incurring staff shortages, it’s up to you, as a leader, to invest in your people if you want to keep them. Since the #1 reason why people leave organizations is due to burnout, it’s a huge opportunity for you to end the burnout epidemic by starting the dialogue, creating awareness and implementing a burnout program in your company.  It’s a win-win for everyone.  What will you do to help your people end burnout?

About the Author, Jessica Rector

Jessica Rector, MBA, author of the #1 best-selling “Blaze Your Brain to Extinguish Burnout” and nine other books, helps organizations, leaders, and teams Say Yes to eradicate burnout and enhance mental health.  As a burnout trailblazer, her research is used in her consulting and speaking and often shared on her podcast, “The Say Yes Experience.” For how Jessica can help your organization and team, go to www.jessicarector.com

 

Creating a Resilient Company Culture:  Navigating Change and Thriving Amidst Challenges by Margaret Graziano

Creating a Resilient Company Culture: Navigating Change and Thriving Amidst Challenges by Margaret Graziano

In an era marked by immense volatility and complexity, characterized by technological advancements, business consolidations, fierce competition, and economic fluctuations, you may find yourself in an unprecedented time of change. The aftermath of the pandemic continues to linger, with burnout, stress, and overwhelm persisting among individuals and teams. Amidst this tumultuous landscape, the challenge is this: How can organizations emerge stronger from the trials of recent years? How can they cultivate a culture that thrives, adapts, and responds effectively to the unpredictable? The answer lies in fostering an emergent culture – one characterized by change management prowess, response agility, and a positive environment with fulfilled employees.

Understanding Culture

When more than two people come together, whether as a couple, a family, or a company, they form a human system. Within this system, culture serves as the driving force or energy. Culture possesses the power to create and destroy, providing guidelines for interaction, conflict resolution, motivation, and progress. The objective of examining and shaping organizational culture is to channel the collective energy of individuals into a productive force – one that mirrors the synchronicity found in natural phenomena, such as the coordinated movements of a school of fish or flock of birds.  This is called an emergent culture.

Influencing Culture

Effective impact on company culture entails understanding and influencing the energy inherent within the human system. To initiate this process, focus on the following areas:

Start With The Leader

All culture begins with the CEO; the leader of the organization.  What is their vision? Who are they as a leader? What are their values? Are they operating and living congruent with all of those markers, no matter how challenging or stressful the circumstances may be? Having a CEO who can answer those questions clearly and can live in alignment with them consistently is the foundation on which a company’s culture gets built.  If the CEO is frazzled, overwhelmed, and in survival mode, that is going to set the tone for the entire organization.  Whatever energy the CEO brings to the company and to their life will be the energy that other people pick up on and assimilate to in order to fit in and make it.

Thus, the CEO must be conscious.  They must be awake and aware of what they’re emanating through their words and their actions. They must ensure that they have a clear vision, bolstered by positive moods and inspiring language that rallies people around their vision and engages them into action.  Human systems are guided by behaviors, beliefs, actions, what’s said, what’s unsaid – all of that equates to the energy of the human system, and energy is culture.  So, what kind of culture is the CEO creating?

Cultivate the Leadership Team

The leadership team further propagates cultural attributes throughout the organization. Behaviors exhibited by this team tend to cascade down to various departments. Similar to the CEO, leadership must demonstrate consciousness and accountability for their actions. This includes acknowledging their role in shaping the culture and undertaking personal growth to support a healthy, high-performance human system.  By focusing on the following key elements, the leadership team can contribute to a thriving culture:

  • Achievement. The company knows what they’re here to do, why they’re doing it, and how they’re measuring it.  Organizational achievements are individual achievements, and vice versa.  Achievements are specific, measurable, attainable results that are bound in time.
  • Self-actualization. Each person is conscious. They know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they’re responsible for them and the impact they have on others. They’re doing their own development and personal work just like the CEO is.
  • Affiliation. People are partnering, collaborating, sharing ideas, and problem solving on an interdepartmental level. Cross-functional teams are committed to the noble cause and vision for the organization and are coming up with ways to problem solve together to fulfill the vision.
  • Humanistic Managers. Managers authentically care about their people.  They are aware of what’s going on in their employees’ lives, what their goals are, and how they want to grow.  When an employee knows to their core that their manager has their best interests at heart and they want them to thrive, difficult conversations to improve performance can happen.  Mentorship, coaching, and caring for people comes with humanistic management, and it supports employees who grow and thrive.

Assess Environment and Employees

Employee behavior provides insights into the prevailing environment. Key considerations include whether they experience autonomy, trust, and support in their roles. Ask these questions to assess the environment that your employees are navigating:

  • How well do employees handle changes and upsets and challenges in the market?
  • Do people feel the freedom and trust to share new ideas, take risks and have space to fail?
  • Is there space in the time at work to ideate, innovate and co-create?
  • Are the meetings inspirational and motivating or just a laundry list of getting things done?
  • Is everyone clear on what the noble cause is?
  • Is the right architecture or systems in place for people to work effectively together?
  • Is the leadership team dismantling anything getting in the way of employees taking the ball and running with it?
  • If there’s a problem, are the employees the ones to solve it?
  • Are people being given the autonomy they need?
  • Are people held accountable to their agreements and promises and measures?
  • Can you have difficult conversations?

Achieving Resilience Through Emergent Culture

In times of uncertainty, organizations with the ability to adapt and pivot harness their power. Such resilience hinges on a healthy human system and a shared commitment to the company’s purpose. Leadership needs to exemplify responsibility, optimism, and collaborative problem-solving across departments to overcome obstacles and realize the company’s vision. This approach cultivates an emergent culture, capable of navigating challenges effectively.

While creating an emergent culture demands considerable dedication, care, and focus, the rewards are boundless. With a culture founded on change management skills, response agility, and employee fulfillment, organizations can not only weather storms but also soar to new heights.

About the Author, Margaret Graziano

Margaret Graziano is the founder and CEO of KeenAlignment, as well as a Wall Street Journal Best-Selling Author for her book “Ignite Culture.”  She has been recognized as one of Silicon Valley’s Top 100 Women Leaders. Magi’s groundbreaking work is driven by her power to uncover and catalyze human potential. Go to https://keenalignment.scoreapp.com to take KeenAlignment’s Culture Assessment and see if you have an Emergent Culture.

 

Come Early and Stay Late!        Visitors Guide to the Scenic City, Chattanooga, TN

Come Early and Stay Late! Visitors Guide to the Scenic City, Chattanooga, TN

Welcome to Chattanooga, Tennessee!

Known as the Scenic City, Chattanooga offers a unique blend of breathtaking landscapes, diverse culture, rich history, and a vibrant culinary scene. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, exploring historical sites, or immersing yourself in the arts and entertainment, Chattanooga has something to offer everyone. This is just a glimpse of what Chattanooga offers. The city boasts a variety of outdoor activities, including boating on the Tennessee River, hiking and biking trails in the mountains, and exploring the many city parks. With friendly locals, great weather, and a relaxed Southern charm, Chattanooga promises a memorable visit. So if you plan on attending the 2023 National Women’s Leadership Conference, consider coming early or even staying late!

Tourist Attractions
  • Tennessee Aquarium: Home to thousands of animals including sea turtles, penguins, and otters, the Tennessee Aquarium is a must-visit. Explore both the River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings which showcase aquatic creatures from the rivers of the world and the depths of the ocean.
  • Rock City Gardens: This natural wonder features a 100-foot waterfall, the Swing-A-Long bridge, and Lover’s Leap where you can see seven states at once.
  • Ruby Falls: Descend into Lookout Mountain to witness this magnificent 145-foot underground waterfall. Make sure to book your tickets online to avoid long lines.
  • Lookout Mountain Incline Railway: This funicular railway offers stunning panoramic views of the Chattanooga Valley. It’s one of the world’s
    steepest passenger railways.
Historical Attractions
  • Chattanooga Choo Choo: This historic hotel was once the Southern Railway’s Terminal Station. Experience the charm of the early 1900s by booking a night in one of the converted train car rooms.
  • Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park: Learn about the Civil War’s history at this military park, which was the site of two significant battles
Attractions Arts & Entertainment
  • Hunter Museum of American Art: Located on an 80-foot bluff on the edge of the Tennessee River, the Hunter Museum of American Art offers stunning views both inside and out.
  • Tivoli Theatre: Known as the “Jewel of the South,” this theatre hosts a wide range of live performances, from Broadway shows to concerts.
  • Bluff View Art District: Wander through this historic neighborhood filled with galleries, museums, and artisan shops.
Dining (Locals Recommend These Restaurants!)
  • St. John’s Restaurant: Known for its upscale, inventive dishes and a carefully curated wine list.
  • Public House: A modern, yet cozy spot offering a mix of traditional and innovative dishes.
  • Clumpies Ice Cream Co.: Finish off your meal with a scoop (or two) from this beloved local ice cream parlor.
  • Alleia Restaurant: True rustic Italian, incorporating regional flavor.
  • State of Confusion: Latin American, known for wood-fired dishes, ceviche & beer in a building with exposed brick & industrial interiors.
  • Old Gillman Grill: An upscale American restaurant with a French twist in the West Village of Downtown Chattanooga.
  • Easy Bistro & Bar: Chill French bistro with a raw bar & long cocktail list in a renovated bottling plant