The theme of this year has been "too." Too much to do, too much to figure out, too few resources, too much turnover, too many changes. I guess it is indeed the year of double (twenty-two) because when I coach leaders and business owners alike, the number one thing I hear is that they are working double and putting forth more effort, which isn't yielding the outcomes they hope to have.
When I log into the session, typically, I'm greeted with a sigh. Then the challenge of how [this] training, coaching, workshop, insert tool here will help them release the pressure they're experiencing. Burnout isn't one person on the team, and when we think about what it means, it's not even in the typical sense of how we define workplace burnout.
People quite simply are tired. They feel as though they've been driving for so long they just need a rest stop.
Yes, they've prioritized mental health, and yes, they've prioritized self-care, and yes, they've gone to personal and professional development training. Yes, they have even started implementing some of the tactics, tools, and principles they've learned. However, they still feel like they want to give up, they still feel like what's the point of me spending the majority of my time doing [this work] when it's not changing my outcome, and they still don't fully feel satisfied with their results. What should they do? How do you help someone who knows what to do but feels empty because, quite frankly, they're out of gas?
That's the question, how do you fill them up?
First, you listen, then evoke.
Is listening powerful enough? I will answer yes, which I will not back up with statistics and facts but rather a charge for you to listen actively.
Have a conversation with someone you see is simply tired, that is quiet, and while they may not be expressing themself and their exhaustion, you can tell they seem defeated. Invite them to chat and listen with the intent to hear and understand what they're saying.
Don't try solving their problem. Instead, I want you to think they have all the necessary tools except the fuel required to keep going. Consider your car. When you're driving and need gas, your only focus is getting to a gas station. You're not thinking about how you've had an oil change or got a tune-up or new tires. Regardless of what work you've done to the car and your ability to drive it, you'll go nowhere without fuel. The vehicle will not move or properly operate on empty. So be quick to listen and slow to speak.
Once you've listened, evoke. What does it mean to evoke? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, evoke means to bring to mind or recollection. Part of your listening is to help them become more aware of what they're saying and how they're feeling. It's also an opportunity for you to share what you're hearing and point them to the resources they can consume to shift their focus and perspective (i.e., the gas station).
Be a friend and supporter by reminding them what's available to them or asking them what they thought about the resources you've given them. Practically, this is you engaging with them and partnering with them on their "refill journey." Don't pressure them. Just be vested by instilling hope in them continually.
Sometimes what you know isn't enough for you to take action and do. Sometimes you need a perspective shift to refocus on what you value and desire.
For those who are Christians or open to Christian principles, I'd point you to read The Fruit of a Spirit-Led Leader. The foundation of your leadership and how you show up is character. When you focus on developing your character and are open to the fruit of doing so, you go from being empty to full.
Also, if you identified as the person on empty, I'm opening up my calendar to listen. Yes, to just listen and allow you to release the pressure you're experiencing. So if you're interested, book your listening session here: https://calendly.com/kneisha-sanders/listening-session
Download the "Root of Your Burnout" workbook to take action and assess the root cause of your burnout and identify the impact. Claim back your Time and Peace of Mind!
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