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You lie awake again at night. For the third time this week, I just saw the big red numbers on my clock say 3am. It's still Tuesday. When he wakes up, he ends up spending the day in a brain fog, battling cognitive fatigue, which only leads to decision fatigue. Actually, it's just fatigue. You're stagnant when it comes to completing tasks, you're agile with your team, and they all want you to stop asking question after question.
We're all familiar with the commonly expressed symptoms of burnout (“I'm drowning!” or “This week has been terrible!”), but recent statistics show that 50% of managers experience burnout. It has been shown that this is the case, giving it real credibility. This is a shocking number, but perhaps not surprising. As leaders and managers, we operate from a mental model that not only provides navigation for our teams, but also seeks to help everyone who asks for it and solve any problem. You'll end up taking on more work than you can handle, which of course only increases your chances of burnout. While it may be comforting to know you're not alone in feeling this way, long-term burnout can hinder your productivity, creativity, and communication skills.
Burnt out managers are slow to make decisions, which can hinder team productivity, hinder progress, and even damage team morale. Not to mention the impact this has on relationships within the family. For entrepreneurs and leaders of small businesses and startups, maintaining personal health is essential to providing the strong leadership that growing companies need.
But have you ever wondered if your management style is causing you to feel overwhelmed? Constantly putting out fires at work and holding yourself accountable for every decision? , which is probably the case if you're solving problems before giving your team a chance. Many leaders and managers are appointed for reasons other than strong interpersonal skills and struggle with the people management aspects of their roles. They are at best self-trained when it comes to line management and responsibility for developing team members and increasing productivity. At worst, they are not equipped to get the most out of people.
The need for people management skills becomes even more important for smaller teams, as they need to extract the full range of talent from the people they hire. Growing companies that are ramping up their hiring efforts should also recognize that establishing the right culture early on is the way to attract and retain top talent. It's essential that everyone is able to bring their best work to the company, especially since 50% of employees report leaving their role because of a poorly treated manager. It is no longer enough to expect people to automatically do their best. If you're not happy, it's relatively easy to vote with your feet, and that's already happening now as younger generations enter the workforce.
Related: Understanding Entrepreneur Burnout (and How to Deal with It)
So how do we begin to address our own controlling behaviors? Start by recognizing how we usually react to different situations. . By habit, most of us have evolved to respond to various situations in typically directive ways, providing guidance and support to others. But in doing so, we risk alienating team members from showing us what they can do, if only we had the presence of mind to inspire them to step up.
To help with that, we can look to the STAR model.
•STOP – Step back and change state.
•Think – Is this a coachable moment?
•Ask questions – ask powerful questions and actively listen.
•Outcomes – Agree on next steps and the outcome of the conversation.
So if a team member comes to you with a problem, stop. Not every problem requires an overstressed manager to do all the thinking. Avoid providing all the answers or trying to figure out the solution yourself. The mental burden of constant decision-making is immeasurable. Simply take notes as you make decisions throughout the day. It's mentally taxing on you and takes away valuable time that could be used to help others find answers within themselves. This not only causes them to lose confidence in their own abilities, but also encourages the idea that they should wait for your direction before attempting to solve a problem. This inadvertent dependence means more problems to pay attention to.
In The Answer Is a Question, award-winning performance consultants Dominic and Laura Ashley Timms share a simple approach to rehumanizing the practice of management. I launched. sauce: concept
Learning to resist the natural urge to direct, and literally biting your lip, will help you understand whether the situation is a coachable moment, meaning that a deft prompt from you will help this person understand the situation. Gain time to think instead about what might be useful to explore. And the possible solutions themselves.
Related: Breaking the pattern: The problem of unconscious bias in the Middle East workplace (and how to deal with it)
If you think the person is capable and might benefit from tackling the problem on their own (i.e. it's a teachable moment), aim to stimulate their thinking. Learning how to ask authentic, powerful questions can help a person think and reflect on: Actions you can take to start resolving the problem. It would be easy to move on at this point, but unless I secure some form of commitment from the other person to act on one of his ideas, all we've had is a pleasant conversation. It will be.
To ensure results, you should ask a few more questions to agree on appropriate follow-up. Not only does this increase the likelihood that the action will be followed through, but it also provides an opportunity to provide appreciative feedback.
Applying the STAR model in this way helps break our habits, brings out the talents of our team members, and keeps them accountable for solving day-to-day problems. You might say, “When I'm faced with a problem, I already ask questions of my team members,” but the point here is to completely help the other person think by asking them questions that they might take. It's about asking questions to help you get it out. Rather than using questions as information-gathering opportunities, allow people to solve problems on their own (a typical diagnostic questioning approach). In everyday situations, we prefer to use this question-driven approach more often when we decide that asking questions may yield better results than telling, and this Contrast with command and control management. model.
Continuously applying the STAR model enables you to adopt an “operational coaching” style of management, which feeds into the broader workplace culture by supporting a more engaging, productive, inclusive and collaborative environment. It can also be profitable. You'll start to spend less time fixing and micromanaging, and instead start reclaiming time to focus on the higher-value aspects of your role.
At the same time, these coachable moments provide valuable learning opportunities for teams to think for themselves, improving their own problem-solving skills, confidence levels, and resourcefulness. Asking powerful questions also makes team members feel trusted to step up and share accountability for the workload. Enabling others in this way is key to effective delegation. Of course, adopting a new management style is not easy. It takes practice. When the pressure mounts, you may find yourself reverting to firefighting or command duties.
But every time you can stop and help someone else think, it relieves some of the mental strain that comes with day-to-day management, which is a win in itself. Relieving pressure by making the most of your team's talents will help rebalance the workload, which will only contribute to an increased sense of well-being and help avoid burnout.
Related: Living with purpose: Here's how entrepreneurs win the battle against burnout