In previous blogs we have talked about preventing employee burnout and disengagement and how to reconnect with disengaged employees, but what should a company do if they find their leadership is showing similar signs? According to research by Gallup, the leadership of a company can account for up to 70% variance in employee engagement. If your leaders are burnt-out, it is likely they are not working to keep the rest of your team actively engaged. A recent article in Forbes gives two ways that leaders can prevent burnout and stay engaged.
1- Hire great people
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great says this better than perhaps anyone:
“Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.
In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.”
2- Delegate to them
It seems simple, but if you see your leadership team struggling, lack of delegation is likely the culprit. So why do leaders run themselves ragged instead of allowing their team of employees to do some of the work? The excuses leaders have for not delegating have been the same for decades, but each of them can be overcome.
They won’t do things as well or as quickly as you do– This is likely true initially. Everything has a learning curve. If you empower your employees by teaching and coaching them, they will be more engaged and you will be more productive. You have to learn to let go of some things and let other people show you they are capable of doing the work.
You don’t want to give some things up– There may be some things you enjoy doing that you really should be delegating to someone else because they aren’t the best use of your time as a leader. This can be difficult to do, especially if you are good at the task. It is important to focus on your job and your goals and let others do their jobs.
You are worried you will seem less valuable- This is a very common reason for lack of delegation, but not likely one you will get your managers to admit. It feels good to be the person others come to when a certain task needs to be completed. There is personal fulfillment involved. As a leader, you need to have time to think strategically about your department and the company as a whole. Only when you give up some of the tasks that eat up your time and energy, will you be able to focus on this important aspect of your job. Additionally, the true sign of a strong leader is a strong team. Let your employees shine.
You are not sure your people are capable of doing more– This goes back to the idea of hiring great people. You need to hire people that you can delegate to. People that will take the reins on a project without hesitation. People who are willing and able to push themselves professionally. You are not doing yourself, your employees, or your company any favors by covering for employees who are not performing at a high level.
If you see that your leadership team is showing signs of burnout and disengagement, it may be time to consider some training on delegation. A great way to start would be to share this Forbes article with them. Another great resource is this article from the Harvard Business Review. Contact your Client Account Manager if you need more resources.