My Employee’s Burnout is Holding Me Hostage

This week:

Expectations. Too many employees expect your business to be there for them instead of them being there for the business and upholding their agreement to produce results they are paid for. There’s a time to be understanding of a one-off crisis, but so many employees have a crisis every month. What you do in those moments will reinforce the culture…either one you DO want or one you DON’T want.

In this session:

Challenge: I have a valuable employee who continually feels burnt out and literally takes full months off to recover. Her hours aren’t contributing to the burnout as she’s barely working over 40 hours per week.

Coach Response: When it comes to burnout, there is the physical feeling AND there is the mantra. When we tell ourselves over and over that we are burnt out, that triggers an emotion – depleted, powerless, sometimes resentful. The hours you work have nothing to do with how you feel. It’s what you make it mean. How she feels about her journey is not your issue to resolve.

You have to decide, is she worth the three months on, one month off?

We are in a revolution of work. You have to run the business in a way that aligns with your values and the results you want to create. It’s unfortunate that she brings a level of talent and value, but becoming dependent on that will gobble up culture. Give her a chance, re-offer her with the indication that taking a sabbatical every few months is no longer acceptable. Here’s what you can say, “As a company, we have a 40 hour work week. If that cadence doesn’t work for you, I don’t know that this will be the place for you to work long term because I can’t continue to give you a month off every three months. You are so talented and good at what you do, but this cadence you are in is disruptive. I will not be approving it going forward.”

The problem is, no matter where she goes, it’s not going to be much different. As a business owner, the sooner you get to the place where you aren’t beholden to anyone, the better off you will be. The stress isn’t going away. In fact, the clients will get bigger, projects will get more complex. That doesn’t create the stress though, it’s her thoughts about all of it. It’s not sustainable when they are doing it to themselves. Help her recognize that if she’s pushing herself to this point of exhaustion, it’s not useful. She needs to start learning how to make mistakes and dealing with those.

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