John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself and leading others, I’m John Laurito, your host. So I wanted to talk today about the fact that as a leader, one of the goals should be that you have this organization, this team of people, and you’re ultimately just trying to help people do the best that they possibly can. You’re trying to get the most out of the people on your team. You’re trying to leverage strengths. You’re trying to bring out different hidden strengths that people even know they had. You’re trying to balance strengths and weaknesses, trying to do all this stuff to create this winning environment.
John: But the tough thing that exists is there’s a variable there as a leader, you’re trying to put certain people in control or in charge of certain things. You’re delegating work. You’re doing all kinds of things to empower your team. But you also have to realize that there are situations where you are not going to know whether somebody is at capacity with work or they’re overloaded with work or they’re underutilized. And there are all different types of people that may make it, for example, seem like they’ve got too much on their plate when they don’t have that much on their plate.
John: And there’s also the opposite. There are people that have way too much on their plate, yet they cannot say no. And you know who I’m talking to, you know you know who you are because I know you well, I’ve worked very closely with a few of you. And it’s an admirable trait. It’s absolutely admirable and honorable because it’s the type of trade that says, hey, you know what, I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I want to support the organization. I want to lead. I want to help drive results. I want to make a big impact. And I feel like if I say no, then I’m turning down an opportunity. And there are actually multiple, multiple different reasons why somebody might not want to say no or I’m at capacity, even if they realize that they don’t have the ability to do that task. One is something that I dealt with.
John: I remember early in my career, I felt like my leader would lose confidence in me if I said either I didn’t understand or know how to do a task or I didn’t feel like I had the skill set to do the task, or I didn’t have the capacity to do it. I thought that that opportunity would be gone, his confidence level would be lower, and then I wouldn’t get the next opportunity. So I would constantly say yes and it didn’t matter how much stuff I on my plate.
John: But the downside to that is what I’m going to talk about next. And that’s burnout or its quality of work. It’s not ultimately going to be I’m not going to be able to deliver the quality that I know I want to. So the question is, as a leader, how do you really understand and know who’s got what level of capacity? If you’ve got a certain job that needs to get done and you’re
looking at your team, you’re trying to figure out who’s the best person to do this and the unknown, that you really there’s a variable there. You don’t really know exactly who has what level of capacity. Let’s just assume there’s some level of fuzziness in that answer because we may be asking them and may not get the exact true answer.
John: So the thing you got to be careful of is burnout is a very real thing. And that individual that has trouble saying no and just ask yourself, OK, in my organization who comes to mind, where they’re constantly taking on new challenges and new tasks, they never seem to always have a much longer list of things that they have to do than they can possibly get done. And they never turn anything down. They never say that they’re at capacity and they sometimes don’t take time off. They work all kinds of crazy hours of the week, 60, 70, 80 hours a week. And ultimately, as a leader, you may feel like you’ve got an absolute winning, you know, team player there, which, yeah, it can be the case.
John: But at the same point, you may have somebody that’s not there for very long. So as a leader, you’ve got to pay attention to those signs. I’ve always looked at three things that tell me that somebody is on the brink of burnout. One is I see a change to their personality. So any time I see any kind of change in somebody’s personality, I wonder what’s going on, not if something’s going on. I wonder what’s going on because something’s going on. It’s either at work or it’s at home or both. But something’s going on. That’s number one. Number two is I see behavior changes.
John: So what they have usually done, they change, whether it’s their routine, whether it’s what time they’re coming in or starting their day, whether it’s their accessibility, whether it’s their how, when they take lunch, I mean, literally, anything that’s going to be kind of a change to their normal pattern is going to send a red flag to me. Again, I may be nothing in that case, but it’s sending up a flag in my mind that something is causing that type of change. Could be a small thing. Could be that maybe they were very vocal in meetings and suddenly they became quiet. Maybe they were very much wanting to proactively go around and help people.
John: And then they stopped. Maybe they were very focused on the client and always talking about customer focus. And now that’s changed. OK, these are behavior changes that would concern me that there’s something that’s happening that’s different. And then the last thing is the quality work. So I start to see things that I didn’t see before. The quality starts to decline. Maybe the turnaround time on stuff declines. And ultimately I don’t see them delivering the results that they were. So those three things personality changes, behavior changes, quality of work are all signs that somebody is either heading toward burnout or they’re in it right now. And your job as a leader is you have got to dove in and fix that and help that person get more balance, remove some stuff off their plate, help them bring the enjoyment back to what they’re doing. Otherwise, you’re going to lose that person.
John: And usually what my finding is that people that get burned out are the top people. They’re not mediocre. They’re not the people at the bottom, the people at the top that are running their hardest. Those are the ones that get burned out. And keep in mind from a prior episode, and I’ve said this many times, they’re. Three things your top people need, if they’re not getting one of these three things, they are going to leave at some point, just a matter of when one is they have to be growing. They have got to be getting better and better. I don’t
care if it’s smarter, if it’s more skilled, if it’s more designations, if it’s more competencies, whatever it is, they’ve got to feel like they are growing. They’ve got to know it, not somebody else. They have got to feel like there’s growth.
John: Secondly is they need to feel like they’re having an impact and not just any impact. They need to feel that they are making the level of impact that they want to make and that they know they can make there. Plenty of people that left mom included a career or an organization because they knew they could make a bigger impact doing something else. It wasn’t that they weren’t making an impact. They felt they could make a bigger impact doing something else.
John: And the third thing is they have to feel valued. They have to feel important. They have to feel appreciated. They have to feel recognized. And that’s not just money, although that’s a part of it. Sometimes it’s just time they need to feel like they’re valued and important and leaders are spending time with them and other people appreciate them and there’s a spotlight on them. Those are the things that are important. If you have those three things happening, you’ve got a really good chance of keeping your best players. If you’re missing one of them, you’re probably going to lose one of them or any of them.
John: And keep that in mind about burnout. That is critical. You have got to keep your eyes open for that in your organization. People are not going to come to you rarely and let you know that they’re burnt down until it’s too late. They’re not going to give you the early signs. They’re not going to come to you and say, hey, I’m starting to feel different. I’m not enjoying this as much. It’s usually going to come way too late. And then at that point, it’s really hard to get them back on track.
John: OK, so again, I hope this provided some insight. Got the wheels turning a little bit. I see this happen a lot. I talked to a lot of people, a lot of leaders, and I’ve talked to many even recently that are feeling burnt out. So think about this and covid where we had some downtime, where I mean, prior to covid, we had some downtime in the car. You know, you can kind of ramp up and get ready for the workday. You can decompress on your way home. We don’t have that anymore.
John: And it’s not like that car ride has been replaced with open time. OK, the transit time has been replaced with appointments and meetings and phone calls and work. So everybody’s workday, everybody thought that working at home had to have more flexibility and I’d have a looser schedule, not the case. I talked to leaders all across all different types of industries. I have yet to talk to a leader that says their schedule has slowed down because of covid. Their appointment schedule is more packed. So consequently that will lead to burnout. You have to know that unless you’re really disciplined about balance and as a leader, you’ve got to look for those signs.
John: So, again, hope this got the wheels turning. Put some insight on something that shed some light on something you hadn’t thought about recently. I’m here to help, so email me, direct message me, whatever I can do to help, I will. In the meantime, like, subscribe, share these, comments, suggestions on future topics, future guests sent on my way, and then go down below. Give a five-star review. Appreciate it. Look forward to seeing you soon.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!