One-quarter of people will experience a mental health condition every year in England according to Mind and, with one in 14 UK adults reportedly feeling stressed on a daily basis, it is no surprise that two-thirds of full-time employees say they have experienced burnout at some point in their careers.
But 36% of workers state that their organisations have done nothing to help stave off employee burnout.
Going with the flow in the rapid
I once had the privilege of rafting down the Grand Canyon, and a few canoeists came with us.
Before each of the powerful rapids, we would all stop and assess the layout and plot a route through.
This applied to everyone, even those who had been down the river a number of times as each journey is unique and changes depending on the power of the water.
What I came to realise was that once you are in the rapid there’s very little you can do except be agile, use your experience and sense, work with the flow, not against it, and make small alterations as you go down to keep yourself on a safe route.
You can’t dictate the flow
It feels like a really strong metaphor for businesses surviving hard times – as opposed to leaders who jump in like an action figure and try to work against the flow, or even worse, dictate the flow.
However, if the canoe has become damaged, we need to spend time fixing it, and not with small plasters and quick patches.
The leader that instigates the sometimes painful process of healing following a difficult period of time, is the one who can lead their team to safety and growth through learning.
So what strategies are recommended to initiate the process of healing and rejuvenation?
Once you are in the rapid there’s very little you can do except be agile, use your experience and sense, work with the flow, not against it, and make small alterations as you go down to keep yourself on a safe route
Begin with what’s ‘too difficult’
We need to deal with the hard things first. Look at what you are not attending to that actually needs to be dealt with.
Assess what’s in your ‘too difficult’ tray and start there. Get back to what is the DNA of the business whilst being curious about opening up to new opportunities and looking at new dimensions.
Power doesn’t mean fear and control
Know that effective leadership does not call on the improper use of power. Fear and control are not employed by good leaders.
So often, businesses will attempt a silo approach of addressing issues in isolation, which often ends badly and with only the stimulation of personal agendas that facilitate greater issues and contribute to the fracturing of the business.
Balance the equation
The exercise of power is more about ego and so, naturally, fear, authority and control play assorted parts in the equation.
Good leadership is actually a kind of giving, being a role model, guiding individuals and helping to enable their personal achievements, as well as success for a greater common interest.
Smother toxicity with positivity
Aim for the transformation of a stagnated culture.
To repair and rehabilitate a business involves the unification of those in a shared environment.
Call things out bravely in the moment and take positive action rather than letting the toxicity grow.
So often, businesses will attempt a silo approach of addressing issues in isolation, which often ends badly and with only the stimulation of personal agendas that facilitate greater issues and contribute to the fracturing of the business
Restoring unity is the priority
Telling the truth with respect and clarity leads to repair and renewed health.
Talk about the ‘elephants in the room’ because they sap so much energy.
Excise what is noxious and seek to keep all healthy tissue where possible.
Strong leaders must prioritise the restoration of unity and bring together any areas of the workplace that are fragmented or exiled.
Start deep listening. Stop what you are doing when someone is talking to you, don’t send emails, just look at them and bring your full self to the interaction.
Unless they ask for help, just listening can quite often be enough.
In this way, an individual will feel supported to dig deep, use their own resources and work out what to do themselves. This is both empowering and compassionate.
Know your people
Good leaders have a high level of self-awareness; they consistently work to improve themselves, developing their CQ and EQ, fully embedding care and inclusion in their strategy.
Today, if purpose is not embedded in your strategy and seen and experienced throughout your projects, you won’t get engagement from talent, especially from the younger generations.
There is rarely only one right answer and so canvas other opinions – the more possible answers you have, the better.
Know your people, what is going on and what is missing.
Strong leaders must prioritise the restoration of unity and bring together any areas of the workplace that are fragmented or exiled
Expressing emotions is healthy
In order to be great for their people, leaders need also to be good to themselves and respect the need for self-care.
Healers understand the benefits of the feminine, which expresses emotion whilst the unhealthy masculine rejects it and spends much of its energy suppressing it or expressing it dysfunctionally.
Healer leaders encourage the sharing of emotions in themselves and in their people.
You can’t be creative and productive and thrive when you are feeling terrible.
If you enjoyed this, read: HR’s newest problem: Managing leadership burnout