Working with Executives and with their Emerging Leaders every day, my Master Coaches notice that occasionally the pressures and stresses of the day-to-day “whirlwind” of activity and expectations can often wear people down and start them along the path to burnout. No company wants its Executives or Emerging Leaders to burn out, and they invest mightily to compensate their leaders well and to prepare them and equip them for predictable success. Companies and Teams are best set up so that they can become a dynasty in their endeavor. One of the strategies and techniques that work well if you’re a leader and one of your Executives or Emerging Leaders is beginning to show signs of burnout is to provide them with a new challenge. Does that intrigue you? Does that surprise you? I wouldn’t be shocked if it did! Most people assume that the cure to burnout is to take time off, to back off, and to relax a bit. I’m a huge fan and an ardent supporter of time off and relaxation, but I’ve learned that they won’t solve the problem when someone is headed to burnout.
I’ve observed firsthand over the years, that fast-growth industries and companies are different. Expectations are higher, the workload is greater, the visibility of performance is much more significant. To put it mildly, working in a fast-growth or a hyper-growth company or industry is not for the meek and mild. You must have some mental toughness and resilience to succeed in those situations. You must be able to stay focused and bounce back to survive and thrive in a fast-growth or hyper-growth workplace.
If you work in such an environment, there is always the potential that the higher workload, the frequent travel, and the increased visibility to greater expectations can overwhelm you at some point. That’s when we begin to feel and begin to demonstrate some of the tell-tale signs of the onset of burnout. People are rarely inspired by a situation where they are not asked to step up to a higher level of conduct and performance. They are, on the other hand, often inspired by a great challenge. The key to inspiring your people with a great challenge is to also pay attention to them, and to stay present with them as they begin to step up to the challenge, that they know you have not and never would abandon them as they pursue the great challenge. Sometimes I’m confronted by a leader who doubts that people are inspired by a challenge. In those situations, I ask questions about how they can then explain Winston Churchill during the blitz of London and World War II, how they can explain the United States putting a man on the moon in a decade, or how they can explain the US Olympic Hockey Team defeating the Russians at Lake Placid? Let’s face it, people of great character will always be inspired by a great challenge. People of lesser character are on the couch and they are looking for their remote control while the US Olympians are winning the Gold Medal.
I’m convinced that great leaders provide their teams with great challenges. Once they have inspired their troops to pursue the dream, they remain engaged, and they stay visibly involved. They continue to speak about the vision and the dream. They continue to provide support and encouragement to their team when the going gets tough. They remind their team that anything worth their time and talent is worth striving for, worth struggling for, worth being patient to achieve over time. Don’t be confused, inspiring your team is worthwhile, and the very best way to do it, is to inspire them with a great challenge, one that requires them to take risks and get several steps outside of their comfort zone.
We’ve been saying that dynamic leaders are not soft. They are not weak. They realize that their people are also not soft. Their people are not weak. Business is getting tougher all the time. If you and your teammates aspire to taste the sweet nectar of a big victory, you are going to need to step up to raise the level of your game, and you are going to need to accept and embrace a challenge that inspires greatness. Winning cultures are about great goals, great execution, great teamwork, and great victories. Get your team focused on a great victory and inspire them to pursue it relentlessly until the taste of victory is yours.
Michael Beach is a Master executive development coach and business advisor, and the founder of Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting, a coaching firm that provides Executive Development Coaching Services to fast-growth companies, mostly in the technology industry space. Michael and the Master coaches in his organization work with Emerging Leaders and C-Suite Executives all over the United States to make them as tough as nails as they lead their teams. Michael and his team of Master coaches put out a monthly newsletter that provides thought leadership about the challenges of leading in fast-growth industries. You can subscribe to the monthly newsletter for free. Simply send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org and let Michael and his team know that you’d like to subscribe to the monthly newsletter and in no time, you’ll begin receiving great content that will help you to ascend to your best leadership and have you inspiring your team to greatness. Who knows, you might even build a dynasty?