As a busy professional navigating the complexities of leadership, it's all too easy to get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of our growth and development. We may face challenges and setbacks without realizing the untapped potential within us to overcome them. But what if I told you that the key to becoming a better leader and person lies within your grasp?

The Power of Self-Coaching: Three Key Benefits

Empowerment

"Continuous personal development is a cornerstone of success." - Jack Canfield

In today's fast-paced world, continuous development isn't just a luxury—it's a necessity. Research shows that individuals with a growth mindset are more likely to succeed personally and professionally. By embracing self-coaching, you empower yourself to take control of your growth journey, unlocking your full potential and achieving greater success.

Resilience

Did you know that 85% of successful leaders have a resilient mindset? (Source: HBR)

Resilience isn't just about bouncing back from adversity—it's about thriving in the face of it. Through self-coaching, you build the resilience needed to navigate leadership's inevitable ups and downs with grace and confidence. By reframing challenges as opportunities for growth, you emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.

Positive Mindset

"Your mindset determines your success." - Carol S. Dweck

Our mindset has a profound impact on our reality. By cultivating a positive mindset through self-coaching, you open yourself up to a world of possibilities. Instead of dwelling on limitations, you focus on solutions and opportunities. By asking empowering questions and challenging assumptions, you shift your perspective from problem-focused to solution-oriented.

Practical Tips for Self-Coaching

Just last week, I had a conversation with a business owner struggling to find fulfillment in her work. The weight of responsibility had taken its toll, and she was stuck in a cycle of negativity and self-doubt. But she discovered a newfound sense of empowerment and clarity through the power of self-coaching.

By reframing her challenges as opportunities for growth and tapping into her inner resilience, she transformed her mindset and reignited her passion for her work. Her story serves as a powerful reminder of the profound impact that self-coaching can have on our lives and careers.

If you are ready to embark on your journey of self-discovery and personal growth, here are some actionable tips to get you started:

  1. Set aside dedicated time each day for self-reflection.
  2. Ask yourself meaningful questions that challenge your assumptions and spark new insights.
  3. Practice gratitude and self-compassion, recognizing the progress you've made and the strengths you possess.

As someone who has experienced the transformative power of self-coaching firsthand, I can attest to its profound impact on personal and professional growth. By embracing the practice of self-coaching, you empower yourself to unlock your full potential, cultivate resilience, and foster a positive mindset grounded in possibility.

Are you ready to take the first step on this journey of self-discovery? I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter and join me as we explore the power of intentional leadership practices and unlock the potential within ourselves and those we lead.

You don't have to navigate this journey alone. I'm here to support you every step of the way, cheering you on from the sidelines and serving as your accountability partner. Together, let's embrace the power of self-coaching and unleash our limitless potential.

Understanding Mid-Career Stagnation

Are you stuck in your career, questioning your path, and yearning for something more? You're not alone. I understand the complexities of mid-career stagnation all too well. I was there, and now, as an executive coach, I guide leaders through similar challenges. 

It's no secret that many leaders reach a point in their careers where the once-thrilling challenges lose their luster. The corporate landscape is riddled with stories of executives feeling uninspired and disconnected from their work. This sentiment is echoed in recent studies and podcasts by the top executive talent management and organizational development firms, such as McKinsey, Deloitte, Mercer, and Korn Ferryall shedding light on the reasons behind executive departures, including feelings of stagnation and a desire for greater autonomy.

But it's not all doom and gloom. Let’s delve into this phenomenon, using insights from data-driven trends and my personal journey, and give you some actionable strategies to reignite your passion and drive for success.

My Journey Through Mid-Career Stagnation

My experience navigating mid-career stagnation taught me invaluable lessons about mindset, resilience and intention. I was at a crossroads, grappling with the disheartening realization that my once-passionate leadership had waned, replaced by overwhelm and disillusionment.

It was during this challenging time that my own executive coach played a pivotal role in my journey. In one memorable session, she gently confronted me with an observation that shook me to my core.

Coach: “You sound a bit like a martyr.”

Me: “What the heck are you talking about?”

Her holding up the mirror to me helped me better understand that I had fallen into a pattern of blame, attributing my dissatisfaction to external factors rather than taking ownership of my own experience. Through this moment of insight, I realized that I had relinquished control over my situation and allowed myself to become a passive observer in my own life.

Through personalized coaching sessions, I discovered the power of reframing my current role as a sandbox for experimentation and innovation. Instead of succumbing to the allure of external opportunities, I learned to harness the resources and relationships to inject excitement and purpose into my daily work. This shift in mindset and proactive ownership of my career trajectory proved to be a game-changer.

Strategies for Success

Now, as an executive coach, I leverage a similar approach with my clients facing mid-career stagnation. Here are two strategies you can explore to reignite your passion:

  1. Reframing Your Current Position: Reframing your current position as a "sandbox": Instead of focusing on jumping ship or making bold changes prematurely, I encourage my clients to view their current roles as opportunities for growth and experimentation. By treating their current positions as sandboxes, they can explore new ideas, test innovative approaches, and inject excitement into their daily work.
  2. Taking Proactive Ownership of Your Career: I guide my clients to step out of the grind and envision their future trajectories. This involves mapping out how they want to add value in future roles, taking intentional steps to make those changes a reality, and reclaiming control over their career paths. By getting in the driver's seat and actively shaping their professional journeys, they can overcome boredom and rediscover fulfillment in their work.

Mid-career stagnation is a common challenge faced by leaders across industries, but it's not insurmountable.

Don't let mid-career stagnation hold you back any longer! Whether reframing your current roles as opportunities for growth or proactively mapping out your future trajectory, my goal is to empower you to reclaim your sense of purpose and reignite your professional journey.

Take the next step and work with me.

In the world of leadership, there comes a point in one's career when the term "executive presence" enters the conversation. It's that juncture when you find yourself with increased visibility in your organization, and suddenly, how people, including senior levels, perceive you becomes crucial. You receive feedback along the lines of, "You need to work on your executive presence," but what exactly does that mean? To complicate matters, there are numerous misconceptions surrounding this elusive quality.

Dispelling Myths About Executive Presence

During my time in the corporate world, I, too, grappled with the notion of executive presence. I believed that to exude executive presence, I needed to “act more like a man.” Over the years, I've coached male leaders who believed it meant impeccable grooming or dressing to impress. It's not uncommon for leaders to have these misconceptions, and often, the process of demystifying executive presence begins with understanding what it is not.

It's often easier for organizations to pinpoint when someone lacks executive presence—when an individual is overly reticent or excessively talkative, when emotions become a stumbling block, when punctuality or professionalism falters, or when nervous fidgeting or rambling takes over. These outward signs of unprofessional behavior, whether in appearance, language, or demeanor, are easier to identify. However, explaining what executive presence is can be a more nuanced challenge.

The Three Key Questions

Identifying executive presence is a personalized journey unique to each leader receiving feedback. One helpful approach is to consider three fundamental questions regarding how people perceive you:

  1. Do they believe you are of value or benefit?
  2. Do they want to engage with you or do business with you?
  3. Do they find you credible?

These questions prompt leaders to reflect on the alignment between their words and actions, a central aspect of authenticity. After all, authenticity is about being genuine and consistent in presenting yourself. It's not a facade or an attempt to mimic someone else's style; instead, it's about being true to your values, strengths, and personality.

The Role of Authenticity in Boosting Executive Presence

Authenticity plays a pivotal role in boosting credibility and fostering genuine connections, which, in turn, supports your executive presence. Here's how:

  1. Consistency in Words and Actions: Authentic leaders practice what they preach. Their actions align with their words, creating a sense of trustworthiness. Whether in challenging times or when the going is good, they maintain their authenticity, providing a solid foundation for how they are perceived.
  2. Genuine Engagement: Authenticity encourages leaders to be themselves, which promotes sincere interactions. When leaders show up as their authentic selves, it invites open, honest communication, making others more willing to engage and collaborate.
  3. Adaptable Authenticity: Authenticity isn't about being rigid. It's about understanding when to be assertive, when to be empathetic, and when to be visionary. Authentic leaders adapt their authenticity to different situations and stakeholders while staying true to their core values.
  4. Building Trust: is the bedrock of effective leadership, and authenticity is its cornerstone. When you consistently demonstrate authenticity, you build trust with your team, peers, and superiors, which is essential for cultivating a strong executive presence.

Remember that authenticity is not a one-size-fits-all concept in your journey to enhance your executive presence. It's about embracing who you are, understanding your unique strengths and values, and confidently bringing your true self to your role as a leader.

Take Action and Elevate Your Executive Presence

Here are some actionable steps to incorporate authenticity into your executive presence:

Executive presence is a dynamic quality that evolves with personal growth and self-awareness. By prioritizing authenticity in how you show up consistently and working on being more authentic, you'll not only elevate your executive presence but also leave a lasting, positive impact as a leader.

Ready to elevate your executive presence? Take the next step and work with me to enhance your authenticity and elevate your executive presence—and, in turn, your career. Together, we'll unlock your full leadership potential and help you leave a lasting, positive impact on your organization.

As an executive leadership coach who's walked the corridors of corporate leadership, I've witnessed the increasing demands placed on today's leaders and the increased importance of prioritization in leadership. The relentless pursuit of results, the pressure to meet higher expectations, and the evolving dynamics of the modern workforce present challenges that demand a fresh perspective. It’s time to consider a seemingly paradoxical concept—finding ways to "care less"—and how it can unlock a leader's capacity to care more about what truly matters.

The Landscape of Modern Leadership

In a world where job satisfaction is declining, and the workforce is grappling with the stresses of returning to the office or navigating hybrid work, leaders find themselves at a crossroads. Despite efforts to provide flexibility, support, and even salary increases, discontent persists. The distance between leaders and their teams has eroded trust, giving rise to misunderstandings and conflict. The remedy, however, lies not in doing more but in doing things differently.

The Irony of "Caring Less"

As an intentional leadership coach, I often ask my clients a seemingly ironic question: "How can you care less?" It's not a call to apathy, but rather a challenge to shed unnecessary burdens. Leaders must learn to care less about the distracting noise around them - the non-essential matters that hinder their ability to lead with intention. This shift is crucial because caring less about the trivial allows leaders to invest more in what truly matters - leading, engaging and supporting their teams to be their best. 

Prioritization in Leadership & Identifying Less Important Matters

To embark on this journey of caring less, leaders need practical strategies to identify what is less important. Here are 3 ways to navigate this process:

  1. Prioritize Impact: Evaluate tasks and responsibilities based on their potential impact. What actions contribute significantly to team engagement, productivity, and overall success? By prioritizing tasks with a direct impact, leaders can allocate their time and energy where it matters most.
  2. Align with Core Values: Leaders should reassess their activities in light of their organization's core values. Are the tasks aligning with the company's mission and values? If not, there may be distractions that hinder authentic leadership. By aligning actions with core values, leaders can streamline their focus and contribute to a more purpose-driven workplace.
  3. Delegate Wisely: Effective leaders recognize the power of delegation. Identify tasks that can be delegated to capable team members, freeing up time for leaders to concentrate on strategic, high-impact initiatives. Delegating empowers team members, fosters collaboration, and ensures that leaders direct their energy where it matters most.

Embrace a New Era of Leadership

In a time where intentional, heart-led leadership is needed more than ever, the challenge lies in bridging the gap between the desire to lead effectively and the daily grind of overwhelming responsibilities. It's time for companies and decision-makers to invest in developing their leaders, providing them with the skills and support needed to navigate the complexities of today's business landscape.

“Caring less” is not about neglecting responsibilities; prioritization in leadership is a strategic decision to shed the unnecessary and focus on what truly matters. By embracing this shift in perspective, leaders can navigate workplace challenges with resilience, authenticity, and a commitment to making a meaningful impact.

If your leaders are grappling with prioritization of what matters most, it may be time to support them in developing modern leadership approaches critical to sustained success into the future. Let's connect

It is incredible how leadership has evolved over the years. Gone are the days when dominance and intelligence were the most commonly used words to describe leadership. In 2023, we are witnessing a shift towards qualities like empathy, collaboration, and adaptability, which are redefining successful leadership. As someone who has experienced the corporate world firsthand, I understand the importance of developing caring, effective leaders who can drive both personal growth and business results. Let's explore gender differences in leadership styles and how inclusive leadership is the key to creating a thriving workplace and a desired culture.

The Phenomenon of "Mansplaining":

One striking manifestation of gender differences in leadership communication is the phenomenon known as "mansplaining." Many men assert dominance and power through their speech, while women typically communicate to build connections. A study conducted at George Washington University found that men interrupted women a whopping 33% more often than they interrupted their fellow men. Additionally, 46 out of 48 interruptions came from the man in one-on-one conversations between a man and a woman. 

These aren't the only studies that shed light on how gender can influence leadership behavior in the workplace. Women have been found to downplay their abilities when their achievements are made public, while men seem to consistently rate their performance similarly in both public and private settings. Even more recent is the research done by Dave Dunning at Cornell University that found when experiencing failure, men have a tendency to respond using external attribution, while females use internal attribution, often blaming themselves.

In the book "STFU: The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in an Endlessly Noisy World," author Dan Lyons examines the differences between men and women in communication styles and provides practical strategies for leaders to become better listeners. 

It is essential that we become more aware of these dynamics and foster a workplace where everyone's voice is respected and heard and inclusivity thrives.

Investing in Leadership Development for an Inclusive Workplace:

Here's the deal: if we want to foster inclusivity and create a thriving workplace, we must invest in leadership development. It's our responsibility to equip leaders with the skills and knowledge to navigate the complex workplaces of today. 

By understanding gender differences in leadership and implementing strategies to address them, leaders can create a more inclusive environment. Here are three key strategies:

  1. Promote Gender-Neutral Opportunities and Recognition: Ensure that opportunities for growth, promotions, and recognition are based solely on individual merit, irrespective of gender. By establishing transparent processes, leaders can create an environment where gender differences do not hinder progress and allow all employees to thrive based on their skills and contributions.
  2. Foster Effective Communication and Understanding: Developing strong communication skills and cultivating understanding across gender differences is crucial for effective leadership. Leaders can encourage open dialogue, active listening, and empathy-building activities to bridge the communication gap and foster a deeper understanding of diverse perspectives.
  3. Cultivate Mentorship and Development Programs: Establishing mentorship and development programs that focus on gender differences can contribute to leadership competency and understanding. Leaders can create opportunities for individuals to learn from experienced mentors who can provide guidance on navigating gender dynamics and fostering inclusivity.

By moving away from outdated male traits and behaviors, such as dominance and 'mansplaining,' and embracing care, empathy, and inclusivity, leaders can foster an environment where every voice is valued and heard. Leadership development plays a crucial role in cultivating inclusive leadership.

I invite you to reach out to me to learn more about custom leadership development workshops tailored to your organization's unique needs. Let's invest in our leaders today to create a brighter, more inclusive future.

As we step into the year 2023, corporate leaders are faced with an ongoing challenge of a rapidly changing business environment. For a few of my clients, I am seeing them face a very pressing and unfortunate issue - navigating the challenge of layoffs. This has created a sense of uncertainty and fear among employees and highlighted the importance for them to navigate - purposefully,  transparently, and with care and compassion.

The Heart of the Leader

Recently, I observed one of my executive clients communicate a very difficult message to his team that 50 jobs would be eliminated. Each one of the employees in the room was directly impacted. He delivered the news clearly yet compassionately as he explained the circumstances, acknowledged the impact of the decision, and offered space & uncomfortable silence for the individuals sitting in front of him to process the news best.

He put himself in the shoes of his employees - many tenured and committed for years to the organization - and took a heart-centered approach to share the difficult news. In navigating the challenge of layoffs, he met his employees in a place of empathy, went off script a little where necessary, and did his best to hold the space they needed to receive the news. He showed up as an intentional leader during a difficult time, and his actions served as an excellent example for other executives to follow.

In my book, Lead with Heart & Leave a Legacy, I talk about my own experience as a corporate executive faced with communicating a layoff. The lack of progress against the company strategy led to a top-down decision to execute a reduction in the workforce across the organization.  

It was a heartbreaking day, but my team needed a sincere, transparent, vulnerable leader.  The experience taught me the importance of leading with care and compassion during difficult times and proved to be the best approach in minimizing impact on the people. 

Three Ways Intentional Leaders Can Minimize the Impact of Layoffs on Employees

When navigating the challenge of layoffs, intentional leaders prioritize taking steps to minimize the impact on their employees. They do this by adopting a heart-led approach that focuses on transparency, compassion, and being connected.

Here are three things that intentional leaders do when navigating the challenge of layoffs:

  1. Communicate with Transparency
    When communicating with employees, leaders who want to navigate layoffs effectively must be transparent and honest. It is essential to clearly explain the reasons behind the layoffs and what steps the organization is taking to help affected employees. This can help alleviate some of the anxiety and uncertainty often accompanying layoffs.
  2. Show Deep Care & Concern
    It is important for leaders to show empathy and compassion towards their employees during these difficult times. This means taking the time to listen to employees, acknowledging their emotions, and showing genuine concern for their well-being. Leaders can demonstrate this by providing support and resources to employees during and after the layoffs.
  3. Pay Attention to Remaining Workers' Concerns
    After a layoff, the remaining employees may feel overwhelmed, anxious, and uncertain about their own future with the organization. It's important for leaders to pay attention to their concerns and make personal connections to understand how they are really doing. Leaders can organize one-on-one meetings, hold group discussions, and encourage open communication channels to create a space where employees can express their feelings, ask questions, and share their thoughts. This approach can also help identify potential issues and areas for improvement within the organization.

The Power of Intentional Leadership

For my executive client, how he chose to communicate the devastating news influenced how those individuals reacted and accelerated their ability to process through the change. While life-changing, they felt supported and mirrored their leader's calm sense of commitment.

The year 2023 will continue to present many challenges for corporate leaders, including the ongoing issue of layoffs. By communicating transparently, showing care and compassion, and being mindful of the concerns of their remaining employees, corporate leaders can navigate the challenge of layoffs while minimizing employee impact and fostering a culture that will thrive in the years to come.

If you are a corporate leader looking to develop intentional leadership skills in your organization and cultivate a culture of care and compassion even in the most challenging of times, I invite you to work with me

Is employee engagement a priority for your organization?

If it’s not, it should be. 82% of employees want their company to see them as a person, not just an employee (Gartner (2022)). 

Being seen as a person looks like:

To meet the rising demand for more “people-centered” workplaces, leaders must lead differently. 

Which type of leader are you?

In my work, I see two types of leaders:

  1. The transactional leader
  2. The intentional leader

Transaction leaders prioritize results, metrics, and outcomes. Intentional leaders prioritize people – while still meeting key targets and performance expectations.

Given what we know employees expect and prioritize, intentional leadership is more imperative than ever. 

Top performers want to work for someone who is focused on cultivating personal connections, digging into what inspires each individual contributor, and creating personalized motivational strategies. 

How can a leader become more intentional?

It’s easy to tell leaders to show up differently and lean into the proven practices of intentional leadership – but it’s a bit harder in practice.

Change fatigue and work friction, increased by remote and hybrid work, leave most leaders feeling unprepared, unsupported, and uncertain about how to be an effective leader.

Enter: Executive coaching.

This is the most effective way to equip today’s leaders to make behavioral changes and perspective shifts to become an effective, intentional leader.

Executive coaching is effective. It’s also one of the top resources and professional development tools requested by leaders themselves

48% of global leaders want to learn from external coaching (DDI 2022).

4 ways to build intentional leadership through executive coaching

Executive coaching has many benefits for leaders – both professionally and personally. Of those benefits, these are the 5 most important ways executive coaching can impact your leaders:

1. Create Space
An executive coaching engagement can provide the forum and breathing room that allows the leader to get off the hamster wheel for a moment and refocus/reconnect to their role as a leader. This space creates room to feel effective and connected to their purpose again.                                     

When leaders are given the gift of time/space to focus their own leadership, they feel seen, acknowledged, and understood. This leads to feeling inspired and supported, so they can show up and create value for their team and organization.

2. Expand Possibility
A skilled executive coach will guide your leaders to their highest potential. Coaches use their skills, like active listening and building trust, to create a connection with each leader. This personal connection and belief gives the leader a conduit to see their own strengths and potential.

3. Increase Self Awareness 
Leaders need to be more aware of their role. Without increased self-awareness, leaders, like all of us, will blindly continue doing things the same way as usual. The trouble with self-awareness is that it’s challenging to develop on your own. 

An executive coach will guide leaders to examine their behavior, reflect on their decisions, and facilitate a powerful experience that allows the leader to become more aware of their values, emotions, and habits – and how they impact the people they lead.

Coaches help people see themselves more clearly and more compassionately. Executive coaching is the best way for a leader to understand their strengths and weaknesses, learning how to see different perspectives and accounting for their own actions as they are mirrored back. 

4. Challenge Beliefs and Support Shifts

Like with self-awareness, it’s almost impossible to challenge long-held beliefs or shift your perspective on your own. Executive coaching gives leaders the power to examine the things they believe and the perspectives they hold to determine how these things affect their team and overall organization. Leaders who feel empowered to reconsider their beliefs and make important shifts are then able to re-engage with their team, recommit to their values and goals, and reignite their impact.

Leaders who participate in executive coaching feel more aligned to their priorities and are better at helping their team members feel aligned to their projects and responsibilities. An aligned leader is an inspired, effective leader.

Using executive coaching in your organization

The engagement, morale, retention, and overall well being of a company won’t change if leaders don’t start doing something different.

The benefits of effective executive coaching include improved emotional intelligence, better ego control, and an enhanced perspective. Is this the “different” you’re looking for?

If you’re ready to develop more effective, intentional leaders – click here to learn more about executive coaching and how our team of coaches can benefit your organization.

I don’t know about you, but this Thanksgiving was the first time since 2019 we could have the extended family together. Our celebration included 50 family members – aunts, uncles, and cousins – together in close quarters, sharing stories, laughter, and hugs. We were all in a room together… without masks! It felt like a renewed spirit of family and connection. 

Because so much time had passed since our last gathering, it did take some time to “break the ice.” We had to intentionally work to increase the comfort level and rebuild the connection with extended family we hadn’t seen in a while. 

We all needed time and space to symbolically remove our (COVID) masks and create space to step into our authentic selves. Reflecting on this experience highlighted the importance of authenticity and reminded me of how often this topic has come up in my work recently, especially in my work with self-aware leaders. 

The Authenticity Paradox

I recently asked a group of leaders – “What do you believe builds trust most quickly within a team?” Their answer? Authenticity.

But when it comes to being authentic, we often get it wrong – thinking “being authentic” always equates to “feeling comfortable.” 

HBR published information about the authenticity paradox – digging into how feeling like you’re “faking it” can signify growth. Contrary to popular belief, genuine authenticity is about vulnerability and self-awareness, often requiring leaders to step out of their comfort zone.

What does the authenticity paradox look like in practice? Navigating the desire to be your “true self” when at the office while also recognizing that you are a work in progress that can (and should) grow and evolve to meet your organization's and team's changing needs.

As their careers advance, many leaders are challenged to elevate their leadership contributions in expanded or new roles. It’s at this moment that we must fight the urge to retreat to familiar behaviors and styles that feel authentic but are actually a step back. Growth often requires leaders to live in discomfort, being willing to create a new authenticity that reflects their expanded skills and responsibilities. 

Self-aware Leaders Are Vulnerable Leaders

So many of us buy into the myth that authentic leaders have unwavering confidence in who they are. We believe it’s a sign that we are not authentic if we show signs of weakness, self-doubt, or discomfort. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Authentic leaders commit to learning more about themselves. They are vulnerable in sharing their mistakes and humble in their willingness to learn as they go. 

I’ve noticed the importance of self-aware authenticity even more lately. These days, the new normal includes hybrid work schedules with remote teams and physically disconnected colleagues. With the leaders and teams I work with, on the rare occasion that teams come together in person, they need time to “remove the mask” and step into their authenticity. Everyone needs a little space before they are prepared to let themselves be seen and connect with one another.  

Removing the mask takes courage and intentionality. 

Leaders need the space to recognize the disconnect and the courage to stay open in the discomfort, so we can ultimately bring our best to the office and the teams we lead!

Interested in helping your leaders remove their masks and understand the crucial importance of self-aware, vulnerable authenticity?

I work directly with leadership teams to develop the soft skills required to succeed in the ever-changing landscape of today’s modern workplace.

Click here to learn more about how I can support your team.

May is mental health awareness month, so it feels like the perfect time to discuss what burnout and self-care can look like in the workplace.  

The topic of burnout is becoming a major focus for many organizations. It’s encouraging to see workplaces raise awareness of the dangers of burnout and the importance of self-care and acknowledge the significant impact of workplace stress and long hours on employee health.

But this is still an area where many leaders need to deepen their understanding of burnout and self-care – putting in the time and energy to truly care for their employees and team members.

What exactly is burnout?

Burnout is defined as Chronic workplace stress not successfully managed by employers or employees.

One important thing to note here is that the opposite of burnout is not an absence of stress, but rather the successful management of stress. Leading successful teams will always carry some stress, but if we can learn how to use self-care to appropriately handle our job responsibilities – and teach our teams to do the same – we can avoid the dangerous repercussions of severe burnout.

How does burnout show up in the workplace?

Here’s what we know is true: Teams are burnt out – it’s a global health condition at this point.

According to Gallup, workplace stress costs $300B per year and 44% of workers regularly experience burnout and exhaustion. 

These stats show us that, as leaders, we are acutely responsible for the mental health and wellbeing of our people. We must be aware of what can happen when we ignore the signs of burnout, push our teams too far, and don’t make space for proper self-care. 

I started thinking more about burnout – specifically who is to blame when it happens – after I was asked to speak about the benefits of self-care (and the negative impact of burnout). I personally experienced a serious health scare due to the burnout I suffered, which ultimately led me to make huge changes in my lifestyle and career. And I really wanted to know – whose fault is it? 

Was it my leaders’ fault for not seeing the signs and creating an unhealthy environment?

Was it my organization’s fault for creating a toxic culture and having outsized expectations?

Or was it my fault – for letting things get so bad before I made any personal changes?

As I thought about who to blame, I realized something: The better question is what can be done about burnout and self-care in the workplace?

We have all played a part in letting things get so out of hand, and I think our energy should be spent on finding solutions and creating positive change within our realm of influence.

Before we can find feasible solutions, we need to understand how burnout occurs, even in businesses that don’t intend to work their employees into an unhealthy state.

What contributes to burnout and self-care?

The world is changing at an exhaustive rate. We are always on. We have competing priorities to keep up with and everyone expects instantaneous gratification. We can always be reached. Everything is urgent

And while it’s convenient to blame COVID, this burnout culture existed long before the global pandemic. COVID simply accelerated and exacerbated the issue.

For organizations who thrived during COVID, it was game on to capitalize on the opportunity to experience exponential growth in a new segment, new category, or new industry.

For organizations who struggled during COVID, it was game on to keep the business afloat, rethink, reinvent and emerge on the other side so they could rebuild what once was.

Employees on either side of the coin were overworked with blurred lines between work and home, anxiously facing sleepless nights, worried about their job, or worried they wouldn’t appear as productive as they needed to be to save themselves if they had to.

The demands of our busy lives, coupled with the performance cultures we face in our jobs, wear us down and make burnout a real experience.

Burnout is caused by:

And these are all things that destroy performance while harming individuals.

How do we treat burnout and self-care in the workplace?

When speaking to a local news channel about burnout in 2019, I gave a suggestion to “get 7 hours of sleep” as an effective way to combat burnout. This simple suggestion garnered a snicker from the anchor – you can watch the clip here. It just shows how far we have to come, and how embedded the burnout culture truly is. 

So what are we, as leaders, supposed to do?

The solution for burnout isn’t “self-care” – and it isn’t lowering performance expectations. 

Solving burnout in the workplace requires a co-created space between employees and the company that includes ambition, drive, results, and time to rest and recharge.

Hard work should be met by equal rest. The most ambitious of your people need to be praised for recharging the same way they are praised for meeting big goals. We must remove the stigma of “laziness” and reframe genuine rest and recharging as essential components of success.

Whether you’re a leader looking for better ways to support your employee's overall well-being or an employee teetering on the edge, looking for ways to avoid burnout – here are 3 strategies to try:

  1. Get clear on expectations. Only 60% of workers know what is expected of them at work. This causes conflict between manager and employee and creates internal conflict for the employee when they place unrealistic expectations on themselves.
  2. Get comfortable disconnecting. A vacation is a great option and many employers are offering unlimited PTO, but employees aren’t taking it. Leaders need to encourage it and even consider more unconventional options, like sabbaticals. At a minimum, leaders must be aware when employees eat at their desks and answer emails in the evenings. As a leader, discourage this behavior. As an employee, stop doing these things.
  3. Get serious about a People First Culture. When an employee is able to be their best self at work, the company gets the best outcome. Employees should know what things give them energy, and be encouraged to share these with their leaders without guilt. As a leader, show you care, and ask them how you can support them in this without making them feel they have to get the company’s buy-in.

Need one-on-one help navigating burnout and self-care as a leader?

My work is centered around helping leaders become more effective while also leading more fulfilling lives. If you’re interested in working together to avoid burnout, recover from existing burnout, help your employees avoid burnout, or learn how to implement a self-care practice that prioritizes success and recharging – I’d love to chat with you.

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Just as I challenge my clients to grow, develop, and progress as intentional leaders and toward their goals, they also challenge me. Through our discussions, I regularly learn new things that are reinforced daily, and I am challenged to continue to embody the coaching mindset (one of the ICF core competencies).

This challenge serves me well, as I ensure to “walk the talk” – both in my work and in my life.

Most recently, a client conversation inspired a discussion, and further consideration, of intention.

The Power of Intention

Intention has always been a major concept and guiding principle for me, both as a leader and as a coach of leaders.

I practiced intentional leadership, wrote about it in my book, and now I help my clients define and practice how to show up and engage with others with intention in their own leadership.

It’s clear that being intentional is a big deal. Being a present, effective, heart-led leader is a defining characteristic. But it doesn’t always have to be a big habit or a big practice.

Being Intentional Can Feel Monumental

In the previously mentioned discussion with my client, our conversation showed me the power of practicing, and demonstrating, micro-moments of intention.

As I’ve written about a number of times, and like I tell all of my clients – being an intentional leader requires thought and planning. Choosing to lead with intention can be time-consuming and detailed. You can feel like you need dedicated time to think, plan, and get ahead of your goals each day.

You spend time considering, “Who can I purposefully engage with today?” and “How can I show up in this meeting to best engage with my team and inspire them to take action to solve XYZ?”

An intentional leader champions their employees, connects with their colleagues, and acts with purpose.

Whew! I’m exhausted just reading that description. It’s true – being an intentional leader does take time, energy, and focus. (And it’s worth it!)

But it doesn’t always have to be so arduous. In fact, there are daily opportunities to practice micro-moments of intention outside of the bigger, more recognizable areas of intention.

Intentional Leaders Embrace the Micro-moments

You’re not always going to have a plan – and that’s okay. The best leaders know how to embrace micro-moments of intention to stand in their power and remain in the driver’s seat of a particular situation.

You can be intentional without a plan! These micro-moments are all about reinforcing your ability to lead with intention at your core, without a pre-planned effort or decision.

To put it another way, these micro-moments help you build an intrinsic, natural reflex and habit of being intentional. They are a powerful addition to your leadership toolkit! And micro-moments help you show your people who you really are.

What do these micro-moments look like in practice? Let’s explore some examples.

A micro-moment of intention can be a:

Choosing Your Own Intentional Micro-moments

Take 3 minutes right now and jot down a few times today when you experienced a potential micro-moment of intention.

Did you choose to act with intention or did you let the moment pass? This isn’t a practice in judgment – it’s about recognizing how often these moments occur and being more aware of how we engage with them.

Invite the micro-moments in and choose to show up with intention. This is how you’ll become the leader you want to be.

Need help understanding how to engage with more intention or improve your skills as an intentional leader? This is exactly what I help my clients with, and I’d love to see how I can help you step into your true leadership potential. Everyone benefits when you lead with compassion, empathy, and intention.

Let’s chat and see what’s possible when we work together. Click here to schedule a free consultation.

Tricia Manning © 2024 All Rights Reserved.
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