Spotting Signs of Team Burnout and 5 Strategies to Fight It

matches lined up with each matchhead shaped as a person's head. Spotting Signs of Team Burnout and 5 Strategies to Fight It

What to do with an employee who seems disengaged, disenfranchised or whose productivity seems to be on the decline? Surely the first step is to engage HR and to go down the disciplinary route? But what if he or she is not simply “bored” or dissatisfied with their work, but, instead, suffering from burnout? How can you even recognise team burnout, let alone take steps to prevent it?

Despite Burnout seemingly coming to prominence on the tail of the pandemic, it was identified in 1974 and is recognised by the WHO as a legitimate “occupational phenomenon”, resulting from any of a number of causes, for example, unmanageable workload, lack of challenge, lack of communication with a manager or any number of other contributing factors, either at home, work or a combination of the two, causing chronic stress to the individual.

So how can you recognise team burnout and what strategies can you put in place to combat it?

Spotting Signs of Team Burnout.

Signs that someone might be burnt out include:

Lack of engagement – has the individual avoided taking on new projects, or lost interest in things they previously found enjoyable? Perhaps they socialize less or have stopped participating in meetings.

Decreased productivity – Feelings of overwhelm can prevent employees from focusing and they may feel their efforts are just not worthwhile. Has their quality of work suffered? Perhaps an increase in customer complaints is occurring.

Increased absenteeism – Stressed employees are more likely to take time off in the belief that it will recharge their batteries. They may also wish to avoid interaction with co-workers, or projects that they perceive as “stressful”.

Higher than normal sensitivity to feedback – Perhaps an employee is permanently on the defensive, greeting any feedback with comments like, “It’s always my fault…” “I can’t do anything right”

Displaying signs of emotional, mental, or physical exhaustion – These can include panic attacks, nausea, headaches, loss of appetite and weight loss, or gain.

As an employer or manager, there are a number of strategies that you can employ to proactively address the potential for team burnout before it becomes an issue. Here are 5 ways:

Prioritise your People

Spend time with your employees talking to them and actively monitoring how they feel. This can be as simple as a weekly check-in or sending out a Google survey.

However, in the new business world of remote working, it’s important that you make yourself available to sit face to face with an employee, albeit via an online meeting, and actively listen to how they are feeling, finding ways to support them.

With any atypical behaviour, it’s important that you dig a little deeper to understand the motivating factors. Is the employee having issues in their personal life that are creeping into work? There could be any number of reasons for the behaviour that may, or equally, may not point to burnout.

Cultivate Your Workplace Culture

Create an environment where wellbeing is key. Ensure employees switch off from work when they should switch off, don’t work at weekends, and take time off regularly. Ensure that co-workers are empowered to recognise common symptoms so they can act if they feel they or a colleague may be experiencing burnout.

Have a Coaching Conversation.

One of the best ways to prevent team burnout is to foster the idea that “no one is an island “and to ensure employees realise they are not alone. Creating a company wellness programme can help employees manage their stress, empower them to reach out when they feel overburdened, create, and maintain goals, and improve their motivation to get the job done.

Employing the services of an external coach can ensure an open dialogue without the employee feeling inhibited by what they feel they can and “can’t” say.

Pay Attention to the Workload.

Monitor your team’s workload to ensure that they are not being overwhelmed with a too-long to-do list. It may be worth offering some time-management training, as procrastination or lack of prioritization can mean that work is left to the deadline, resulting in increased stress as the deadline approaches.  

Where possible, varying your team’s workload can result in renewed energy. Consider where and how you assign your team’s projects. Sharing responsibility amongst a senior and junior member of the team, rather than the full responsibility falling on the senior person’s shoulders, can create “breathing space” for the senior person, as well as a valuable learning opportunity for the junior.

Conduct Independent Exit Interviews.

One of the most effective ways to gain feedback from employees is to conduct 360-degree appraisals or feedback at exit. When this is managed independently from the organisation it offers the best chance for the employee to respond openly and honestly, for the organisation to obtain valuable data, and to act on it to inform future actions.

It is clear that where team burnout is concerned, prevention is better than cure. This involves identifying the root cause of any burnout as quickly as possible. In so doing, you stand the best chance of not only being able to support your employee but to ensure they return to previous levels of wellbeing, productivity, and engagement.

If you would like to arrange coaching for yourself or your team, then why not book a call? A no-obligation chat will give us the opportunity to discover if we are the right “fit” for each other and to discuss your needs in greater detail. I offer various coaching solutions to support both you, the leader, and your team. Follow the links to find out more.

Why you should bring your feminine qualities to work- 5 feminine qualities to embrace

Julia Ngapo Business coachingPortrait of a stylish young businesswoman with her successful business team at office

How would you describe a successful business person? You might use words like “strong,” “assertive” and “independent.” You might be less inclined to describe the traits of success as “intuition,” “flexibility” or “compassion.”

For many years, business success has been dominated by masculine energy. The focus has been on performance, achievement, and challenge, compared to softer feminine energy encompassing empathy, nurturing, and collaboration.

So, if you want to be a success in business, should you suppress these feminine qualities and instead focus on improving the masculine? Isn’t that what society expects?

Traditionally, maybe, but the world is a-changing, and many organisations are coming to value a combination of both masculine and feminine qualities in the workplace.

Before we start, let’s be clear. This is not about men versus women. We are all a curious mix of both energies; there are many men who embody feminine qualities, and plenty of women who embrace their masculine qualities. This is about recognising that anyone can harness their feminine energies and use them to get ahead in business.

So, what are the key feminine qualities that you can use to your advantage in business? Here are 5 to embrace:

  1. Intuition. Embracing and acting upon that “gut feeling,” rather than always opting for the logical and rational solution may open new choices and options, and yet we often block our intuition, feeling that the solution to any challenge must be more complicated than our inner voice is telling us. Listening to our intuition often gives clarity to a situation, by cancelling out the “ifs” and “buts” of the logical mind.

Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drown out your own inner voice.

Steve Jobs

2. Empathy. An understanding of the deeper issues surrounding a situation gives you the ability to forge deeper connections with stakeholders, employees, and colleagues. People want to be “heard” as well as “understood” and for that to come from a place of authenticity; because you are genuinely interested and value them, rather than as some tick-box exercise.

Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering ther lives.

Oprah Winfrey

3. Collaboration. Identify the right people to forge connections with and you’ll benefit from a team who will support you when you’re doubting yourself, provide you with different perspectives, and who all have different skillsets. Success rarely comes down to the actions of one person, but rather the collective efforts of several.

People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.

Michelle Obama

4. Vulnerability. Society has long conditioned us to eschew anything less than perfection in everything we do. But perfection does not exist. It often requires the input of others, which is out of our control, leading to feelings of inadequacy, discord, and frustration. In contrast, allowing our human frailties and vulnerability to be seen; admitting mistakes, recognising areas of weakness and opportunities for growth, roots our connection with others far deeper and allows others to appreciate our inner strength and resilience.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.

Brene Brown

5. Humility. Culturally, we often see confidence as a mark of success. But the ability to recognise our own weaknesses, the contribution of others in our own success and to accept others’ viewpoints is a powerful trait and one that inspires the confidence of others in us and our abilities.

A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing

Albert Einstein

The key to a successful business is a combination of both the masculine and feminine qualities, of understanding the value that each trait brings to you as a business person and harnessing the power that emotional intelligence can bring. It’s about finding the balance between the two energies, so as to bring out the best in yourself and to inspire it in others. Your feminine qualities, those superpowers that you may have suppressed or ignored will set you up for the business world that is emerging post-Covid. Embrace them!

If now is the time to invest in your business growth, there are a number of ways that we can work together.

1. With 1:1 coaching.  With monthly or weekly sessions available, we’ll work together to create a sustainable, resilient, and successful business, banish the overwhelm and create success on your terms. Find out more here

2. If you’re starting out or have a young business then my Startup to Success coaching programme is for you. You’ll learn all the steps to creating strong foundations upon which to grow your business. Click this link to discover more

3. For those “quick wins” my Coaching Power Hour is a must. You’ll receive actionable steps to help you move past your blocks, gain clarity, and gain the momentum to grow your business. Book your Power Hour here

How Do You Get Noticed? 5 Digital Marketing Tips for Professional Practices

Digital Marketing Tips - Orange umbrella amongst blue umbrellas

In a world of digital “white noise”, there is a real danger that your marketing efforts may fall into the black hole of “just another professional services firm”

So, how do you ensure your practice stands out? How do you get your message across? The message that attracts the right clients, and expertly demonstrates what makes you different?

Here are 5 digital marketing tips for generating leads, driving traffic to your website, and building that all-important authority online.

Digital Marketing Tips for Professional Practices

1. Know your Audience.

The better you know who you are talking to, the easier it is to craft effective communications. This means not only understanding the issues that your target market experience, but demonstrating an understanding of what life is like on their “side of the fence”.

Here. empathic communication is key. A switch from the perspective of “what we offer” to “we understand your challenges, and here is how we can help”, should be the base of your communications; whether via social media, your blog, or website content.

As consumers, we approach any marketing with one thought foremost, “What’s in it for me?”

By pivoting your communications to providing the solution through appreciation and understanding of your audience’s challenges, you start to build trust and a connection with that audience.

For practices specialising in a particular area, this is relatively straightforward. But, for more general practices, it’s often easier to segment audiences by specialism, rather than adopting a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Every piece of content you create should be of value to your target market. Consider a wide variety of content, from blogs to case studies, to current news items. Test a variety of formats, too.

With video continuing to see much higher engagement including some video content in your strategy is a must. This could be as simple as creating a YouTube channel, and sharing from there to a blog post, for example, and could include an introduction to your offices, your staff (Not forgetting support staff, as they are often the first point of contact for your clients) a case study or short snippets of advice, perhaps answering frequently asked questions.

Julia Ngapo Business Coaching-Kids using a can as telephone against gray background - 5 digital marketing tips for professional practices

2. Develop Your E.A.T.

Google is placing increasing importance on those websites that demonstrate E.A.T (Expertise, Authority, and Trust). Including case studies, publishing positive testimonials, as well as including a short author bio at the end of a blog are ideal opportunities for professional practices to demonstrate this.

3. Create Lead Magnets.

One of the best digital marketing tips but one that is often overlooked is to grow an email list. Offering, for example, a checklist, booklet, or something of value to your audience to download in exchange for their email details, is an effective means of building a list of warm leads.

There are several free or low-cost options for managing your list and from which you can create a regular email newsletter. Mailchimp and Mailerlite are two of the most popular.

Given that it currently takes around thirteen touchpoints of your audience seeing your message before they act, this is an ideal option and offers you the chance of maintaining contact with those who have demonstrated that they are sufficiently interested in your services to download your free offering.

It is worth remembering here, that whilst a client may not be in need of your services now, by keeping in regular contact with them, you increase the chances of them contacting you when such a need arises, or recommending you to a friend or colleague.

4. SEO Your Site.

Too often, professional practices have a visually appealing website, containing every bit of information that a prospective client might require, but forget to pay sufficient attention to the back office workings, particularly the site’s SEO. If you want to rank on Google in an increasingly competitive market, then you need to give your site some SEO love! Pay particular attention to the keywords you use, and ensure your site is optimised for mobile use and fast loading.

Remember, if your audience can’t see your site, they will move to your competitors. In addition, and as basic as it sounds, ensure that all information is current and that all web links are working.

5. Have a strong CTA.

Ensure you include a strong Call to Action with every communication. This serves to pull your reader further down the path of doing business with you.

In addition, ensure that the web page where you direct your audience is somewhere where they are required to take further action. Examples of this could be providing a link from one blog to a previous blog in a similar subject area (and vice-versa), or linking from your “Team Members” page to service pages.

Remember, the longer you can keep your reader in your presence, the longer you have to persuade them that you are the solution they need.

Digital Marketing Tips – Summary.

Five digital marketing tips to help you create effective communications, demonstrate your expertise and stay relevant in the online marketplace.

Remember, however, that your marketing is very much a “long game”. It is about planting and nurturing the seeds for future business far more than it is a “quick win” of gaining new business today.

For more insight into creating a client-first culture, why not read my recent blog, Client-First Culture. 4 Tips on Building Client Relationships in Professional Practices here

I am a Business and Executive coach, supporting business owners and leaders to become measurably more effective in every aspect of their business.

I work with senior executives and leaders to improve their performance, manage both their teams and workload effectively, and to claim that mythical work-life balance!

If you would like support in your business. either for you or your teams, then please see my 1:1 business and executive coaching pages, or contact me for a no-obligation chat.