3 Mistakes Leaders Make When It Comes to Team Burnout

Are we seriously still talking about burnout? Yes, unfortunately we are. Now, I have some slight good news for you – across frontline employees, there is a slight reduction in those that are experiencing burnout. Great! However, 40% of people cited burnout as the reason that they left their job. Burnout is the reason that 40% of people left their job.

Now you as a people leader, you’re responsible for not only attracting top talent, you’ve got to hold onto them. You have to be able to retain top talent. So if we know that burnout is the reason that 40% of people are leaving their job, let’s focus in on burnout as a strategy to be able to retain your employees. Today, I’m going to address the top three mistakes that leaders are making when it comes to mitigating your team burnout.

Number one: leaders are not addressing their own burnout.

Does this sound familiar? Leaders, you have to be able to address your own burnout. Look, one of your primary responsibilities as a leader is to inspire and mobilize people toward a goal, a vision. How can you possibly do that if you yourself are showing up completely exhausted, depleted, you have reduced professional efficacy.

There is absolutely no way that you are going to lead others, or even show them how to mitigate their own burnout, when you yourself don’t have a handle on it. I mentioned that we’re starting to see some reduced burnout with frontline employees, but unfortunately for people managers, it has only gotten worse. Gallup reported that across people managers, we went from 28% citing that they were very often or always burned out to 35%.

You must address your own burnout and get that under control if you expect to mitigate the burnout for your team. Mistake number two is relying on perks. Oh, I’m seeing it everywhere. Big bonuses, increased salary, game rooms, free lunches. And look, those are some nice things, but to use an old school metaphor, “That’s just icing on the cake.” The cake itself is disgusting right now, we have to fix the cake!

So as a leader, stop relying on perks. You’ve got to be able to provide foundational things that are going to retain your employees. I saw it firsthand, we had this amazing game room at the office I worked at in my corporate job, but it wasn’t the people who were burned out who were using it. The people who were burned out could care less about the game room. They were just trying to survive. Mistake number two is relying on perks, so let’s find new strategies that aren’t just about the perks.

That should be the icing, not the foundational cake. Right?

All right, mistake number three is thinking that increased responsibilities is a way to develop your employees. So you have an employee who is interested in moving up into a different position or making a lateral move into another department. And you say, “Great, I’m going to have you join this task force, or you’re going to take over this project.” What are you doing? You are just throwing additional responsibilities on their plate when they are already burned out.

Unmanageable workload and unreasonable time pressure are two of the top reasons that people are burned out; two of the top causes right there. So if they’re already feeling like they have an unmanageable workload, your attempt, albeit maybe with good thought, your attempt to provide them development by throwing additional responsibilities on them is only adding to the burnout.

Don’t use additional responsibilities as a way to develop your employees. Take a look at these top three mistakes and start to do some assessment. Pull in the data, take a look what’s in front of you, and see if you can start to remove those mistakes and start to shift strategies so that you can mitigate the burnout and retain your top-tier employees!

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