Leading While Exhausted
The simple truth is burnout makes it difficult to lead others through challenging times. As leaders, we tend to push through it. We work endless hours, always accessible via meetings on demand, phone, email, and text messaging. Burnout has been around for a while. But the long-term pandemic, high employee turnover, and roller coaster economic conditions has made leading while exhausted a reality for many leaders today.
“Toughing it out” may seem heroic, it has its serious implications. Outcomes of leading while exhausted includes lost focus, missed judgement calls, overlooking important details that can lead to disastrous results. Further, studies on healthcare workers during the pandemic have findings that are alarming. Unaddressed burnout can advance to peritraumatic distress, substance abuse, PSTD.
Recognizing and treating exhaustion as important as those “to-do” items on the endless work list should become a priority. This shouldn’t be seen as a “one and done” checklist item but built as a normal routine.
Techniques such as scheduling meeting-free days, turning off digital devices or at least the constant alerts, and stepping away from the virtual or on-site office should become a normal part of the day. Another good move is to intentionally adopt a balanced perspective on all the “crisis’s” that come in. Put a simple mechanism in place that will help separate issues as a “paper clip” item versus an “all hands-on deck” crisis response.
Finally, leading effectively includes modeling ideal behaviors authentically and consistently. By taking these steps to reign in exhaustion, can also encourage employees to do the same. Ultimately this is how leaders shape a healthy and resilient organizational culture regardless of whatever the crisis.
Tresha Moreland is a 30-year experienced HR leader that has worked in retail, hospitality, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. She is leadership consultant and founder of HR C-Suite, LLC who helps leaders improve their ability to execute on business strategy through creative and forward-thinking workforce solutions.
Tresha has authored books such as, “Navigating the Healthcare Workforce Shortage: How to Safeguard Your Organization’s Most Important Asset”, “PHR/SPHR Professional in Human Resources Certification Practice Exams”, “aPHR Associate Professional Human Resources Certification Practice Exams”, and “Insider’s Guide to Shared Services.” Her education includes dual master’s degrees in Human Resources Management and Business Administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA. She also possesses a Senior Professional Human Resources and Six Sigma Black Belt