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Leading an Exhausted Workforce

Leading an Exhausted Workforce



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Everyone is exhausted

  • People are coping with collective grief and trauma on a global scale, which means leaders have to learn and exercise new skills
  • Foster healthy coping mechanisms and discourage unhealthy ones
  • Help ward off some of the typical mistakes that people make under pressure
  • En...

  • In a time of crisis, there is a greater need for mental acuity as new information is constantly coming in and circumstances constantly changing. During stressful times, ask for input and admit what you don't know
  • Normalize and destigmatize admitting mistakes
  • Acknowledge confl...

Emotional openness

  • Acknowledge when you're having a hard time or are not at the top of your game
  • Team members can tell you when you are having a bad day - you may as well admit it so that they know you know, and everyone can make the appropriate adjustments

  • Take care of yourself in all the simple, basic ways: sleep, exercise, nutrition, hydration, mental downtime
  • Ensure that your team has what they need to do these things for themselves
  • Make self-care a regular topic of conversation
  • Occasionally begin a meeting by asking...

Lighten the Load

  • Stress has a cumulative impact. For the body and brain, there is no difference between deadline pressure, an argument with one's spouse, financial worries, the dog that won't stop barking, and the computer that keeps crashing.
  • The patience, self-control, perspective, attentiveness, a...

  • Make a positive goal out of decreasing stress, across the board, for everyone
  • Don’t add to anxiety
  • Leaders can do a lot to ease or exacerbate anxieties
  • Let employees know that it is OK if their home office is messy on Zoom
  • In meetings, ma...

  • Grief, trauma, anxiety all can lead to losing time, focus, and endless pairs of reading glasses.

Mitigate mistakes

  • Acknowledge the mental burden that people are under
  • Create checklists, cross-check protocols, backup plans, whatever is app...

Reduce tunnel vision

  • Focus on all aspects of the situation being examined by using role-play and other mental exercises
  • Bring up hypothetical points of view
  • People do better on creativity tests if they are simply asked to do things like a creative person would
  • Ask "What questions would so...

Learn from failure

Teams that destigmatize failure do a better job of both learning from past mistakes and experimenting with new ways of solving problems.

Don’t make employees afraid to admit mistakes. analyze failures together with your teams, and figure out ways to improve.

  • Encourage team members to engage in meaningful activities inside and outside of work
  • Foster on-the-job friendships and chances to connect
  • Talk about what you find meaningful in life and how you ensure you have the time and energy for these things.
  • Non-work activities ...

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