Why the Key to Solving Burnout Is Creating a Culture of Openness
In March, EO recognizes and celebrates women entrepreneurs with its second annual EmpowHER virtual conference, which focuses on the specific challenges women in business experience. In each one-hour session, women entrepreneurs will learn from experts how to navigate the three pillars of every woman entrepreneurs’ life: business, family and self.
One key to navigating entrepreneurship is preventing burnout. We asked Kelly Knight how she solves the challenge of burnout in her company:
Burnout is rife but also very preventable. There has been a rise in burnout, especially during the pandemic. When the coronavirus kicked in, and the world turned topsy-turvy, many of us went from seeing team members in person to only seeing them on a screen. Since then, we have had fits and starts of returning to the workplace, but the deeper issue of burnout remains unsolved. Why are organizations struggling to address burnout effectively? Because it requires hard work to get to the root of the problem.
We have to be honest about what’s happening in our companies, taking stock of what things look like today and how people’s roles have shifted. Some businesses have seen record growth, which means higher workloads for employees—and more stress. It’s important to right-size your organization to ensure team members have manageable capacities that don’t lead to more burnout.
Just as we visit the doctor for annual checkups, it’s essential to reassess your team’s capacity, structure, and processes at least once a year. My company does it during our yearly planning session, for instance, to ensure we aren’t unintentionally putting more stress on our team.
Here’s how to start:
1. Open Communication
Communicate with team members and other stakeholders regularly via one-on-ones or other meetings, and encourage them to be open about any struggles they’re facing that are leading to burnout. Listen to them, and acknowledge their feelings. That alone can help relieve some burnout. When times are hard and we feel overworked or stressed about capacity, the small things—like feeling valued, appreciated, and seen—sometimes get us through those moments.
2. Emotional Honesty
Model honesty yourself to help your team feel comfortable. There can be a lot of shame in admitting that you can’t handle your workload because it feels like admitting you’re a weak contributor. Let your team know that’s not the case by being open about your own struggles with burnout. In fostering this kind of open environment, you can more successfully get to the root of the issue that’s leading to burnout and better address it companywide.
3. Reassure Fears
Too often, organizations operate in fear-based environments where people think there will be some kind of retribution if they tell hard truths. We must move away from fear-based to gratitude-based environments that praise people for being honest, knowing that it will make the whole organization a better place to work.
The past few years have brought rapid changes to the workplace. Although some of the changes have undoubtedly been good, they have also led to intense burnout. To get to the underlying cause, slow down, take stock of your organization, and seek your team’s input. With some hard work, you can help burnout become a thing of the past.
Contributed to EO by Kelly Knight, who is an expert builder of teams. She is hard-wired to find and grow other talented people, guiding them to reach their maximum potential. After 20 years managing and leading dynamic organizations in the financial services industry, Kelly has been serving as an EOS Worldwide Integrator since 2016. Named to the 2022 Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies, as well as to the 2022 Inaugural Inc. Power Partner list, EOS Worldwide has helped thousands of entrepreneurs all over the globe get everything they want from their businesses.
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