I was recently in a store… a very famous store and organization I won’t say the name of… and an employee behind the counter looked stressed and out of sorts. We spoke briefly and I asked what has become the hardest part of his job and he said something profound, “Over the years, they’ve created a thousand ways for me to make a mistake!” Wow, what a statement! He went on to mention the increased duties that have been added over the years to his job and the process of completing any task; adding pressure, stress, more ways to make a mistake… and more ways to be reprimanded or seen as less valuable!
This may resonate with you if you’ve been at your job for a while! I remember when I was a Mental Health therapist; I first started in 1999 and the job was great as well as the amount of paperwork. We simply completed a one-page handwritten progress note and a hand-written treatment plan once every three months… The End! By the end of my career, 19 years later, the paperwork was at least five times as much, five times more meetings, authorizing with the insurance companies, and many other tasks I’m happy not to write about! The job became different than what I originally signed up for. As frustrating as this is… it’s a normal part of the growth process; as an organization, team, and business grows… so does the number of responsibilities, upkeep, checks and balances, and new things you’ve never thought of. Although organizational evolution is the goal; how do you care for your people as a leader and how can your employees manage the stress?
As a Leader
As a leader, it’s important to focus on the R. part of my H.U.R.T. Leadership. Sometimes you have to lead when you’re hurting professionally or personally. Other times, you will have to lead when your people are hurting, professionally or personally. In this case, your people are hurting due to the never-ending onslaught of increasing duties. Remember, if your employees are hurting for too long… you will eventually begin to hurt too!
The R. = Revealing. Reveal to your people you are aware of the growth and evolution of the organization and the impact it must be having on them; having to learn new processes, additional responsibilities, attend more trainings, confusion between the old and new way, etc. Reveal you are aware of the issue, want to understand the impact on them professionally, empathize with their stress, and potentially share how things have changed for you as well.
It’s important to genuinely engage with you people; knowing who they are, what they need, their dreams (even if their dream is unrelated to the job), and how their current effort can be helpful to get them to where they desire to be… professionally and personally!
Second, uphold the vision and mission of the organization and team! Be sure your people know their hard work and stress is not for nothing. Share how they a part of the bigger-picture they may not be able to see.
Third, As a leader… do you have control to reduce the onslaught of increased responsibilities or at the least, help to consolidate and minimize the current processes of day-to-day tasks? If so, collaborate with your people to find the best ways to do so. Collaboration is important here; as you may make changes that make sense to you, but are not best, helpful, functional, or sensible to your people… leaving you to feel upset and underappreciated.
Once the changes are made, review and measure success. Is the change:
Functionally Evolved – Is the process more efficient and productive?
Professionally Evolved – Does the change allow employees to excel at their job and provide them the opportunity to receive their desire language from leadership: Recognition & Affirmation, knowledge & Advancement, Flexibility, and/or Incentives?
Personally Evolved – Do your people feel a sense of relief and gratitude for the change; improving the quality of their workday, their leadership, and work/life harmony… a better workday has the potential to lead to a better return home; a better home-life can lead to a more joyful employee… Be Mindful!
If you don’t have control of the onslaught, reveal the truth, maintain the vision and expectations, and begin to evaluate. If the onslaught cannot change and your people are overwhelmed, how can you help them cope and maintain their value?
Perhaps sitting with your people for 1-on-1 Meetings or meeting for virtual 1-on-1’s regularly may not only be beneficial, but necessary! You will have to decide what “regularly” means; I suggest once per month. These meeting will be easy to cancel and reschedule due to being “Busy”… DON’T! Your people need you and it’s your time to lead and protect; protecting them from burning-out, neglecting steps out of professional fatigue or spite, only doing steps and processes and failing to grow professionally, and protecting the organization from your inspired and motived employees quitting or turning into bitter, fed-up, grouches that stay!
Be sure to ask: what their biggest positive has been since your last meeting, what they like most about their job and what they’d fine-tune about the job; allowing for a positive start. As you hear their feedback; it becomes easy to add your own and collaborate on a plan that meets their professional and personal goals… and the goals of the organization!
Through your leadership and simplification, perhaps it becomes clear more training is necessary. Perhaps a realignment of staff is necessary to put your people in the right-seat that matches their superpower with the new responsibilities that have come about. Perhaps a reorganization of teams is necessary to optimize divisions of labor. Perhaps additional staff is needed. There are many possibilities; the worst option is to sit back and do NOTHING!
As an Employee
It’s important to note (unless the leader owns the company), leaders are employees as too and any employee can be a leader if you choose to be. Through the onslaught of increased and ever-changing tasks… The combination of Personal Leadership and The R. will be your best friend; enhancing your leadership and work/life harmony!
Personal Leadership is how you choose to show up to your work, your relationships, and your life; that makes people want to follow you because they enjoy and respect how you are and who you are. Will you smile, do your best, be your best, and be solution-focused… consistently? This will help tremendously when you choose to reveal your truth of being overwhelmed, burnt-out, and in need of support! Leaders are more willing to listen and accept feedback from The Inspired & Motivated Employees rather than the grouches.
Reveal to your leaders 1-on-1 using the Positive Sandwich: Share what you like about the job, your issue, and a proposed solution… inquisitively asking for their thoughts and help to fine-tune your idea! You will learn a lot about your bosses and the organization by their response.
Perhaps things can change the way you wanted, or a compromise, or a collaboration of some sort… great! Perhaps they can’t or won’t… but now you have your answer and a choice to make. Stay and make the best out of it by maximizing the benefits of the job or find your wins somewhere else. Whatever you decide… remember, choosing to stay while exuding negative energy will eventually make you as much a part of the problem as the onslaught of responsibilities… Be Mindful!
“Be sure your people know their hard work and stress is not for nothing. Share how they a part of the bigger-picture they may not be able to see” – Andre Young
Written By: Andre Young
Ready for a better work culture, improved interactions between leaders and employees, and fewer headaches professionally and personally? Take the pain out of your company by enhancing Leadership and Work/Life Harmony in your Company, your Teams, and Employees with Andre Young’s Speaking Engagements and Leadership Training Programs (on-site, online, or virtual)! Download Andre Young’s Free App, YEN Push, allow notifications, and enjoy a professional and personal evolution with his Question of the Week, Thought of the Week, and More! Enjoy your EVOLUTION!!!