As sales leadership trainers, we often see that our clients want to understand the role of leaders, how they might influence work culture, and how they can help motivate their teammates to achieve great results. But as stress and burnout have become more mainstream topics of discussion, we've seen an uptick in interest from our clientele on how to manage a team that is running low on steam.
So for my upcoming eBook, Leadership for Organizational Growth, I decided to write about burnout and stress, and how leadership can work with their teams to ensure a physically and psychologically healthy work environment. Here's a chapter from my upcoming resource.
Leadership & Employee Well-Being: Burnout and Stress
According to a recent study by Sabine Gregersen, Sylvie Vincent-Höper, and Albert Nienhaus on how leaders play a critical role in improving their employees’ well-being, “Emotional exhaustion is a vital component of burnout, which is experienced by 77 percent of US employees.”
Burnout and stress can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and severe psychological health issues like anxiety and depression if experienced for an extended period. Employees bear a significant amount of responsibility for their own health and well-being, which includes getting enough sleep, avoiding junk food, and exercising on a regular basis.
Emotionally drained employees interfere with the smooth functioning of a business. Those who are worn out emotionally have a diminished commitment to their employers and their own performance, and are less engaged in purposeful behaviors. They’re more likely to search for another job, which means they’re more likely to quit.
One would think that this would concern leadership. And yet despite the negative consequences for both the individual and the organization, we often see many employees noting that their employers fail to prevent emotional exhaustion and subsequent burnout. It's time we change this.
Improving Employee Well-Being
There are many questions on the minds of employees who get out of bed each day to come to work. But a leader can clarify this purpose to their team by delegating complex, engaging, and critical tasks that support the fulfillment of the organization’s larger goals. While some menial tasks may be necessary as part of a job description, most of a person’s role should be defined in terms of the organization’s overall mission.
Explore these five different scenarios to help you assist your team in improving their health and well-being.
1. Outline both your and the company's expectations.
It would be best if you never left followers in the lurch, allowing them to wonder what they are supposed to be doing each day. Leaders must establish clear and well-defined expectations for their employees in terms of the scope of their responsibilities. Tasks, timescales, metrics, and intended results can help define the role and responsibilities of the employee.
To improve the health and well-being of your employees, connect them to your organization’s purpose. Have employees review the company’s mission and discuss how each component of a thriving well-being culture contributes to the mission’s success. My company’s mission, “enabling buying in a world of selling,” adds meaning to my job.
Tackling Burnout with Dr. Marilyn Paul
Episode 303 of Let's Talk Sales
2. Recognize employees’ contributions.
I like to say, “What gets reinforced in an organization’s culture is what gets valued.” Employees benefit psychologically from knowing that they are contributing to a worthwhile cause. Every assignment should include a mechanism for recognizing and crediting contributions as part of the overall goal.
3. Focus on well-being.
Take a moment to alleviate stress before important staff and social meetings. Keep in mind your own health goals as well as the health goals of your employees to keep everyone energized. As appropriate, invest in the well-being of family members and ways of integrating them into social activities at work.
4. Increase the circle of friends.
Reassign individuals to separate places, groups, or teams when meeting for work or play. Let everyone share a piece of their private life that no one knows about. This can lead to the formation of a well-being social network where none previously existed. Even if you are unable to meet in person, it’s possible to use the same strategy in online meetings.
5. Improve performance evaluations.
Goal setting and well-being milestones should be part of regular work reviews and progress meetings. Consequently, it is well established that individuals who are invested in their work are more comfortable discussing their personal well-being goals. Supervisors can begin this conversation by asking, “Is there anything I can do to help with your well-being?”
Don’t underestimate the value of routine, ongoing dialogue in the intervals between more formal feedback sessions. The more frequently wellness is discussed, the more integrated it becomes into the work environment.
eBook: Personal Development
Navigating Your Way to Prosperity in Life, Business, and Sales
As a leader, the time you spend investing in your team’s well-being will pay off exponentially in improved performance and culture. Plus, overseeing a happier team will likely make your life less stressful too!
How have you seen leadership tackle burnout and stress? Tell us in the comments!