Boost Resilience to Beat Burnout
As a leadership coach and corporate trainer, I treat resilience as a business competency. We know how important time management, project management, and leadership are, but how can employees be effective in their careers if they do not have the ability to deal with change? Constant change is the norm in most organizations, and resilience is crucial to staying productive and having a positive impact in an organization. Resilient employees have more positive energy to deal with challenges and are less likely to burn out and disengage.
Career Engagement and Burnout
What comes first, burnout or lack of engagement? A March 2016 Gallup engagement study revealed that only a third of U.S. employees are engaged at work; half (49.5 percent) are “not engaged”; and 16.5 percent are “actively disengaged.” Engagement is even lower when viewed worldwide: Only 13 percent of employees across the globe are engaged. Employee engagement is a leading indicator of an organization’s future success, and Gallup discovered close ties between engagement and outcomes such as turnover, profitability, and productivity.
There are many factors that cause these percentages to be so low. Engagement is highly dependent on the environment of the workplace, including manager talent and an organization’s approach to employee strengths and development. Gallup found that companies are not addressing many employees’ core needs. Emotionally, people want to feel valued by their managers; mentally, they want to focus on their work and do what they do best.
In my years of experience, I have observed that employees who focus on career resilience are more engaged and productive. Rather than complain about changes and challenges, they manage both and continue to develop their careers and look for opportunities to make a positive contribution to their organizations.
In every session, my leadership coaching focuses on enhancing productivity and developing resiliency strategies. Clients often say, “I don’t need resiliency strategies. I have it all under control.” Yet when I interview their colleagues and direct reports as part of the coaching process, I hear another story. Their coworkers describe them as addicted to urgency and often out of focus—not the image they think they’re projecting at all! While stress has several positive motivational benefits, in unhealthy amounts it can interfere with their careers and personal lives in many ways. I have had clients share how stress has ruined their relationships with colleagues and partners and caused medical issues that after months of tests could only be attributed to stress.
All my clients work through the Benatti Resiliency Model, which consists of five strategies:
- Well-being: Physical, emotional, and spiritual health
- Self-awareness: Purpose, mindset, and type
- Brand: Attributes, impact, and reputation
- Connection: Cultivating relationships
- Innovation: Challenging yourself
In each of these key resiliency areas, I ask clients and workshop attendees to answer powerful questions to see how they measure on the resiliency scorecard.
Well-being: Do you exercise regularly? Do you give your body the fuel it needs to perform? Do you get the amount of sleep you need to be at your best on a regular basis? What do you do to recharge your battery? Are you stretched so thin that you feel ready to snap? Are you deeply connected to something outside yourself such as art, music, literature, nature, or religion? Do you have a spiritual practice that works for you? Do you know your stressors and have strategies for dealing with them?
Self-awareness: Do you have a clear purpose? How is your career fit? Is your career aligned with your values? Are you proactive in designing your career and life, or are you passive and just letting things happen? What is your mindset—do you regularly set an intention for how you want your life and career to be, or are you on autopilot? Do you see yourself as adaptable or do you cringe at the thought of the next transition in your organization? Are you aware of your personality style and how it affects how you deal with people and situations? Are you able to be flexible in your interactions with people whose styles are different from yours?
Brand: Do you know what your brand is? Can you articulate what makes you unique in the workplace and the positive impact you’ve made in your positions? Is your reputation consistent with the brand you want to have? Do you regularly get feedback the way the best brands do?
Connection: Are you around people who move you forward, or people who stop you in your tracks? Even the people you choose to be around during your personal time can affect your resilience. When I think of my most resilient clients, I notice each has a key group of people they trust and from whom they can get feedback.
Innovation: What are you doing in the next three months to challenge yourself, to learn something new and innovative? Innovation can be career-related or it can be a new hobby or interest. It can be attending a class or as simple as reading a book or blog that is relevant to your field.
Many organizations require their employees to focus on specific competencies every year as part of a development plan. Career resilience is a key competency organizations should emphasize for enhanced productivity and engagement. The organizations that win awards for being the best places to work offer their employees opportunities for career and resiliency development. These companies’ benefits include ways for employees to recharge themselves and be proactive in their careers. How does your organization measure up in offering opportunities for career and resiliency development?
Excerpt adapted from “Career ReCharge: Five Strategies to Boost Resilience and Beat Burnout” by Beth Benatti Kennedy, MS, LMFT. For more information, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Career-ReCharge-Strategies-Resilience-Burnout/dp/1945252537
Beth Benatti Kennedy, MS, LMFT, brings more than 20 years of experience to her role as a leadership and executive coach, resiliency training expert, and speaker. With an extensive background in career development, she coaches high-potential individuals on how to use their influence strategically, collaborate effectively, and focus on innovation. Kennedy also creates customized training programs that make an impact, with a focus on keeping employees resilient, engaged, productive, and able to manage change and transition within the organization. Current and past clients credit her dynamic training design, facilitation, and follow-up coaching model for their documented results and success. She is the author of “Career Recharge: Five Strategies to Books Resilience and Beat Burnout.” For more information, visit: www.bethkennedy.com.