How Do You Deal With Employee Burnout?

I love running. Specifically, I love distance running.

It’s so peaceful when you go on a long run in the early morning. And that’s really true now that the weather’s gotten colder.

It’s just you and your thoughts. Or maybe it’s just you, your thoughts, and the occasional deer you see.

I usually pace my runs, so I have something left for the last mile or so before I get to Starbucks (always my ending point :-)). I love the sprint to the finish line.

Sometimes I feel so good at the start of my runs that I am going full speed way too early. Then, about halfway through my run, I’ve got nothing left. Then I’m barely moving by the finish.

Experienced CEOs understand that running a company is like distance running. You need to know when to sprint, and you need to know when to run at 80% of maximum.

If you are always sprinting and pushing your team to the limit, then your team will suffer burnout.

“But we’re supposed to push our team to the limit,” you say.

“Yeah, but,” would be my response.

The startup game is a marathon, not a sprint.

Startup success doesn’t usually happen overnight. You and your team are going to likely work seven to ten years to achieve the overnight success you dream of.

There will be nothing left of your team if you try and push them to the limit for all seven to ten years. In fact, you will lower your odds of success if you try and push your team to the limit.

You’ll likely find your turnover is really high and your productivity is low. Then, if you try and keep pushing it, you’ll find that your productivity will not improve.

Why? Well your team is burned out, that’s why.

You’re going to need to back off.

If you have the committed team I had, you’ll find you actually need to tell many of your team members to slow down. You’ll also find you’ll have to almost beg some of your best employees to take some vacation.

I know you’re thinking, “Vacation! Startup employees don’t take vacation!”

Yes, startup employees do take vacation.

Crazy, huh.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t expect extra from your team. I am saying you should expect more from your team.

You’re going to need your team fresh when you really need them to grind.

You have a deadline to release your new product that you can’t miss. You’ve been managing the schedule and the team is a little bit behind.

Does the team have anything left to sprint to the finish, or have they been pushed to the limit already?

The difference will determine whether your team will be able to catch up and release your product on schedule.

That’s what experienced CEOs do; they make sure the team has something left for that kick to the finish.

For more, read: Can Sandbagging Your Goals Be The Key To Your Success?

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