Burnout has become a pervasive and pressing problem in today’s world. With increasing working hours, heightened expectations, and ever-present digital connectivity, people are finding it harder and harder to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Leaders and teams are no exception, as they experience heightened pressure to perform at their best on a consistent basis. Burnout is no longer just an individual issue, but has spread across industries and even whole societies. High levels of burnout can result in lost productivity, declining mental and physical health, and turnover in organizations. It is essential that we create a culture that supports work-life balance and employee well-being to mitigate this problem and enhance the performance of leaders and teams alike.

On this episode I discuss burnout prevention in leaders and teams. I starts by highlighting the importance of being proactive rather than reactive and how burnout is prevalent in leaders worldwide. The goal is to provide tangible tips to combat burnout and reduce stress for oneself and the team, all while operating at one’s peak to achieve the set goals. Additionally I emphasize the significance of psychological safety, job flexibility, and recognizing individual needs and circumstances to prevent burnout.

Key Combatting Burnout Topics

In the opening segment, Scott emphasizes the significance of being proactive in combating burnout instead of reacting to it after it has already become an issue. He emphasizes the impact of prolonged stress on burnout and highlights the common sources of burnout in today’s high-pressure work environment.

03:40 – Establishing Psychological Safety

Scott discusses the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment within teams. He highlights the role of psychological safety in enabling team members to open up about their challenges and stresses, ultimately preventing burnout.

08:30 – Setting Realistic Deadlines

The discussion delves into the impact of unrealistic deadlines on team burnout. Scott provides insights into establishing realistic deadlines to alleviate stress and allow team members to perform at their peak without the pressure of unattainable timelines.

12:50 – Providing Job Flexibility

Recognizing the changing dynamics of work-life balance, Scott emphasizes the value of offering job flexibility to team members. He explores the benefits of enabling employees to work from home and adopt flexible work hours, reducing stress and enhancing productivity.

17:10 – Self-Care for Leaders

Switching gears, the episode focuses on proactive self-care strategies for leaders. Scott dives into the essential elements of physical, emotional, and mental well-being, emphasizing the role of self-care in preventing burnout.

19:40 – Taking Breaks and Vacations

Scott highlights the significance of taking regular breaks and vacations to recharge and prevent burnout. He shares practical insights into the positive impact of allocating time for breaks and the anticipation of vacations in reducing stress levels.

21:30 – Delegation and Prioritization

The discussion delves into the pivotal role of delegation in alleviating leaders’ workload and preventing burnout. Scott stresses the importance of effective communication and prioritization to avoid overwhelming workloads.

24:30 – Learning to Say No

Scott emphasizes the power of setting boundaries and prioritizing tasks by learning to say no when necessary. He provides valuable insights into effectively managing workloads and avoiding burnout by asserting control over responsibilities.

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The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode. 


Scott McCarthy [00:00:00]:

It. Being reactive is nothing compared to being proactive. I’ve said these words countless times on the podcast. I’ve said them to the members of our leader, Growth Mastermind, our elite community for leaders who want to elevate their skills. And here I am today saying it yet again. But today we’re going to be talking about it in a different way, in that we’re going to be talking about it from a standpoint of how we are proactive in combating burnout in us. And of course, our teams see talking leaders around the world right now, whether that is my one on one coaching clients, the members of our free Facebook group community, which is creeping up to almost 10,000 now, by the way, absolutely crazy. Or if it’s the members of our leader, Growth Mastermind, talking to all these people, all these leaders around the world, and one theme just wears its ugly head consistently, and that’s burnout. People are just burning out right now. So I wanted to dive in, in how we can be proactive against the burnout, how we can make sure that we don’t start talking about it when it’s an issue, but rather we talk about it so that it doesn’t become an issue that is being proactive and that is where the money is as a leader. So with this episode, I wanted to give you really some tangible tips on ways to reduce your stress, reduce your load, reduce your team’s stress, therefore reducing their load and getting them into the right side of the burnout spectrum so that you can operate not just optimally, but at your peak. And that’s what we’re here for. We want to operate at our peak in a day to day basis so that we can achieve the things we set out to achieve and we enable our teams to set out the goals that we set for them and that they set for themselves as well. So with that, let’s get into it. Are you ready for this? All right, let’s do it.

Scott McCarthy [00:02:53]:

Welcome one. Welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast, a weekly podcast series dedicated to helping you hit peak performance across the three domains of leadership. Those being leading yourself, leading your team, and leading your organization. This podcast couples my 20 years of military experience as a senior Canadian Army officer with world class guests to bring you the most complete podcast of leadership going. And for more, feel free to check out our website@movingforwardleadership.com. And with that, let’s get to the show.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:40]:

Actually being live streamed across God knows how many different social medias here. Hey. It is your Chief leadership, Officer Scott McCarthy. And thanks for tuning in from wherever you are tuning in from. So today I wanted to talk about this epidemic that’s going on, this major issue that so many leaders out there just have problem with, and that is burnout, burnout, burnout, burnout. Whenever I talk to leaders from around the world, one of the biggest problems they keep talking about having is burnout. So the point of this episode, this podcast recording today, is not to react to burnout. I e I’m burnt out. So now what I want us to do is actually prevent it in the first place. If we get proactive, then we don’t have to be reactive. And that is the goal. The goal is to be proactive, not reactive, especially with something when we’re talking about like this and burnout. So first off, let’s just dive into exactly what is burnout in the first place, right? We have to understand what burnout is. And burnout is a spectrum. And it’s a spectrum from just being feeling tired and run down to actual burnout, which is actually a clinical diagnosis. So when you’re burnt out, when you’re truly burnt out, there’s a clinical diagnosis that goes with that. And it’s essentially a state of emotional, physical, mental exhaustion. And the reason why we get to that exhausted point is because we’ve been exposed to prolonged stress. So constant stress day in, day out. And that is going to eventually cause burnout. And guess what? If you’re saying I feel burnt out, Scott, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s actually quite common in today’s world because we are so fast paced. We want things now. Our supervisors want things yesterday. They want it results yesterday. And the problem that we’re coming across is that in these high pressure jobs, leaders are burning out. And it comes really due to the fact of these high pressure jobs, feeling a bit of impostor syndrome on top of that, like you’re not good enough. And then ultimately that feeling that you’re letting your team down or your supervisor down. So that then in turn causes you more stress and then you end up having feelings of cynicism detachment, reduced productivity, lack of energy, and basically no motivation. All right? So we want to stop that, right? And as leaders, as you’re listening to this podcast or watching the live video here, we want to make sure we are proactive in not having burnout in two different groups. Of course, the first is your team and the second is yourself. So let’s talk about the team first. Okay? And we have a few different basically, I have a bunch of different tactics for you to go ahead and employ over the long term on how to prevent burnout. And the first one is establishing psychological safety. Establishing psychological safety within your team can help you prevent burnout amongst your team members. Why, you ask? Or how? It’s kind of simple. So when you establish a sense of psychological safety within your team, what’s going to happen is that people are going to feel like they’re able to come to you and talk to you about their problems, about the issues that they have going on. Okay? And with that, they are going to be more open and willing to talk to you about the strains and stresses that they’re under with the position, with their job, the one that you’ve hired them to basically come and fulfill. So establishing psychological safety within your team is actually crucial to preventing burnout. So making people feel like they’re able to come forth and talk to you about their stresses, their strains, their troubles. And then from there, you can go ahead and make some decisions, because if they don’t feel safe to the point where they can bring these issues forth, they’re just going to bottle them up. The more we bottle up inside of us, the more we feel that strain, that stress, which then, as the spectrum goes along, turns into the burnout. Okay? Now, we’ve talked about psychological safety on this show, oh, I don’t know how many times, so many times. In fact, I got a great episode where I interviewed the author of the book four Stages of Psychological Safety, Tim Clark. Now Tim talks about it in four stages. Belonger, safety, learner safety, contributor safety, and then finally, challenger safety. So you want to establish that, and really what you’re trying to do is get to that stage four. And this is an old episode, ladies and gentlemen, but yeah, it’s still one of the ones that I referenced the most, and that is episode 128. So if you go to lead, don’tboss com one, two, eight, you build a list of that episode if you haven’t done so already. All right? So build that sense of psychological safety in your team. It’s kind of like the foundation. Without that, the rest of the tips aren’t going to work for you. So let’s dive into what the rest of the tips are right now. Next is set realistic deadlines. I don’t know how many times I hear leaders complain about their supervisors that the deadlines they get are unrealistic, and therefore the deadlines that they have to impose upon their team members unrealistic as well. When we go ahead and set realistic deadlines, that enables people that feeling that they can breathe, that they have ability to properly do their job, that they don’t feel the strain and stress of time crunch. When you have the realistic deadlines for projects, work, whatever, it enables people to actually work at their optimal and therefore get to their peak performance. And that’s what we’re all about here. We want to hit peak performance, and burnout is the exact opposite, right? So we want to try to avoid that. So again, by establishing that psychological safety and your people come to you, say, hey, boss, this is unrealistic, you want this by tomorrow morning? It’s impossible. I’ll be up all night working. I can have it to you by Friday under normal circumstances. And, oh, by the way, I need to shift these priorities, okay? When people come to you talking to you about those things, it’s important for you to listen and actually understand what they’re going through and have an understanding what’s on their plate. So that when you make the decision to either shift the deadline or keep it, you have a full understanding what’s going on. But setting realistic deadlines will help you prevent burnout in your team members. The next thing which you can do as a leader to help burnout in your team members is providing job flexibility. Okay? Today’s world, we’re fast paced work life balance has become a major concern. No longer does the wife stay at home and take care of the kids. Now both people have to work in order to make ends meet, especially in North America. In the developed world, Europe, it is so expensive and so difficult for a family to get ahead that both parents need to work. So if you have team members who have children, who have spouses, you have to provide them flexibility. And today, this day and age, the ability to work from home has never been better. Right. The ability for someone to set up an office in their home and take care of work at home has never been one more available to us, two more accepted. And it gives so much flexibility and most importantly, reduces so much stress on your team members. I have no issues with my team members taking days to work from home. Someone has a child, they have to take care of their child when their daycare is closed. I’m like work from home day. It’s no big deal. You have your projects, you have your deadlines, work your schedule around when your child naps, maybe take work while they’re napping. You don’t work while they’re awake. And then maybe after supper you do a few more hours. It’s okay, we can work through it. Another one has a delivery coming for a new piece of furniture I’m like. And of course, we all know those delivery windows, eight to five will be there between eight and five. What the heck, right? I understand it’s hard for them to know exactly when they’re going to show up. But the moral story is, is this that everyone works nine to five these days. So if you’re able to enable your people stay home, get that delivery work from home for the day, and then come back to the office, why not? Allowing flexible work hours, okay, you can shift your hours. You don’t need to do nine to five. Maybe you do six to 03:00 a.m. Doesn’t matter. Or maybe you split up. If you have the ability with the positions to do such things, and it enables people to wrap their life around their work, and yet you’re able to get the productivity and the goals that you need out of them, then why would you not offer them that flexibility? It behooves you. It reduces stress. And American Psychological Association has stated that employees who have higher degree of job flexibility have experienced much lower levels of burnout than those compared to not have it so this is a great tool. So those are just a couple of tips on helping be preventive for burnout within your team. But of course, we need to talk about you the leader, you need to prevent burnout yourself. So first thing for you, the leader, self care. Taking time for yourself. I know it’s a new buzzword for the past year or a couple of years, but essentially what self care is, is taking care of your physical, emotional and mental health. Okay? When you do practice self care, it is being proactive in avoiding burning out. So let’s dive into a few of those areas. Health, physical well being has a tremendous impact on our emotional and mental health. Of course, vice versa. But if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating right, exercising right, you can actually prevent burnout from occurring. So getting enough sleep crucial for your health. Seven, 8 hours a night, some people run six. Okay. Not to mention it helps with your productivity and your performance levels when you’re getting enough sleep. It helps you operate at your optimum and your peak. And I’ll tell you, for the longest time I was running on 6 hours or so. For the past while now, I’ve been really dedicated and disciplined at going to bed at 10:00 p.m.. So going to bed at 10:00 P.m., getting up at 05:00 a.m. And I will tell you, it has helped me. So that’s 7 hours there. So getting that 7 hours of sleep has been great for you out there. If you’re not getting seven or 8 hours of sleep at night, maybe you need to look at that along the lines. Simple tactic for you to help prevent burnout taking breaks. One of our mastermind members, Sean, has actually started up a walking group for lunchtime. How many people out there just sit at your computer, eat your lunch and still crank away? The reality is you’re doing yourself a disservice. One, your productivity is going down, and two, you’re putting additional strain and stress on yourself. Okay? What is happening with Shauna and this group is that they’re actually taking a break. Getting away from the keyboards, getting away from the mouse, the screens, getting out in nature, going for a nice 20 to 30 minutes walk, coming back to the office, and are actually much more rejuvenated, more productive, and most importantly in this case, more relaxed. So it gives your chance for your brain to recharge. It allows you to take a mental break. And what’s going to happen is that you’re going to find when you take these breaks, your creativity and your problem solving skills are actually going to increase because your brain has had that break. When we don’t take those breaks, that is how we allow burnout to creep in and slowly slide on the far side of that spectrum where we don’t want to be coupled with this. Take a vacation once a while, and I mean a vacation. Get away, get away. Maybe a long weekend. Get away from disconnect from the normal routine. Disconnect from all the emails and Slack messages and text messages and everything else. Get away with an actual vacation. Reduce your stress, okay? And the fact is that having that vacation booked and planned can actually help you with combating burnout anyway, because the anticipation of it is going to increase your happiness and actually decrease your stress levels. So studies show that individuals who take regular vacations are at lower risk of developing burnout because they recharge your batteries, enable you to be refreshed and come back to take on new challenges. The next way for you as a leader to combat burnout is through delegation. Simply taking on too many tasks and holding them tight to your chest that only you can go ahead and take care of them. It’s actually doing you a disservice. Delegating properly to your team. And again, this goes back to the assumption that you haven’t laden them with too many tasks already, but rather you’re holding on to the tasks here. You need to properly delegate so that your team members can take that off your plate and enable you to focus on truly most important things from your standpoint, from your level. And they can take care of other things. So trust, communication, delegating the right tasks to the right people, enabling them, giving them the proper deadlines for those tasks will help you in curbing burnout and getting away from it. And then the final thing to help you with burnout is saying no. Learning to say no is very much a difficult thing to do. But when your plate is completely full, when you could do no more, learning to say no is going be the thing that saves you. And when I say learn to say no, I don’t mean actually say no, but rather force your superiors to prioritize your work. They come to you and they say, I want you to do this now, and your plate is already full. You go boss. Great, okay, but what’s coming off? I have this, that, and the other thing which you’ve told me to complete, all in direct conflict with this new task. I’m only one person, my team is already laden with all the different tasks, they’re already working some overtime and we can’t take on anymore. So what is going to give? Learning to say no will help you in the long run from making sure you don’t get too burnt out. And the reality is you’re not saying no, rather you’re turning around the decision and you’re putting it on your supervisor to say what comes off, what is not the priority. This is why I’ve always been so hard on people and saying that prioritization is absolutely crucial in leadership. Because without prioritization, nothing is a priority. Therefore, people kind of just do whatever. So there you go folks. That is how you be proactively combating burnout. Do that with your teams by establishing psychological safety, setting some realistic deadlines, giving them flexibility with their work within yourself. You go ahead and exercise self care. You ensure you are healthy. You take some simple breaks, take some vacations from time to time, delegate where applicable and appropriate. And then finally, sometimes you got to say no. So that’s it. If you found this helpful and think it be more helpful for someone else you know, feel free to share it. All right, go ahead, share it. Share this video or podcast episode with a friend of yours who’s currently probably feeling stressed, maybe a bit burnt out, maybe on the way to being burnt out, all right? And hopefully no, hopefully, I know for a fact that these tips will help them. You just got to go and execute them. All right, that’s it for me, ladies and gentlemen. Take care. Remember, as always, lead Don’t Boss and we’ll see you next time.

Scott McCarthy [00:25:30]:

And that’s a wrap for this episode, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting the peak Performance Leadership podcast. But you know what you could do to truly support the podcast? And no, that’s not leaving a rating and review. It’s simply helping a friend. And that is helping a friend by sharing this episode with them. If you think this would resonate with them and help them elevate their performance level, whether that’s within themselves, their teams, or their organization, so do that. Help me help a friend. Win win all around. And hey, you look like a great friend at the same time. So just hit that little share button on your app and then feel free to fire this episode to anyone that you feel would benefit from it. Finally, there’s always more there’s always more lessons around being the highest performing leader that you can possibly be, whether that’s for yourself, your team, or your organization. So why don’t you subscribe subscribe to the show via movingforwardleadership.com subscribe. Until next time.

Scott McCarthy [00:26:41]:


Scott McCarthy [00:26:42]:

Don’t boss. And thanks for coming out. Take care now.