In the past weeks I have had way too many conversations with burnt out leaders.
They are done.
I see many reasons at play here, but I wanted to share two that have risen to the top-
First- Unreasonable expectations of our leadership from those in our charge.
Second- The inability of leaders, either by time availability or by choice, to prioritize self care. One of the best ways you can take care of your people is by taking care of yourself.
I think there is a popular misconception about taking the time to take care of ourselves…
Self care is not selfish. Self care is other-care.
Self care helps us to be able to care even more for our people!
I have a simple question for all leaders (and if you have even one other person looking to you for guidance, advice, or even authority, or even someone who is watching how you do you life, you are a leader).
Here is the question-
How can you care for your people if you can’t care for yourself?
You will empty yourself to nothing and go back and do it again. Sooner or later you will get reactive with your responses or you make rash decisions and then everyone suffers.
You can not pour from an empty pitcher.
Once the pitcher is empty, you need a refill. So how are you refilling?
I know this for sure- you can either take the time to refresh and refill, or it will be taken for you in terms of a breakdown, panic attacks, health deterioration, or simply making bad leadership decisions.
There is a simple law at play here. And it is non-negotiable. We need to recharge. A cell phone needs to be plugged in. An electric car needs to recharge. Smoke detectors need new batteries. I could go on and on. Ever try using a laptop when the battery is dead? How did that work for you?
Just as all of our gadgets need to be recharged, so do we. Although we might disagree on how much food we need and how much sleep we need, we can agree that we need them. But what about the other things that recharge us that we are neglecting?
When is the last time you spent some time in silence? Looked at a sunset? When is the last time you practiced gratitude? How about the last time you were unplugged and fully present? I bet it’s time.
And look… I know that your people aren’t taking care of themselves either and that is a big part of why they have the problems that they have that manifest in your organization.
You can’t control them.
You can influence your own refilling. You can control how you show up. You can control what you are doing to put a little back in the tank.
What if we looked in the mirror this week and asked what we need as leaders? And then took a little time to refresh?
If you are a leader that could use a hand up, check out my coaching page to see if we might be a good fit to work together to find some hope and belief that good days are ahead!
And if you are that burned out leader or just feeling burned out- here’s my GIFT to you! No obligation.
Wonderful blog. As a leader, making sure my work team is happy and provided for, I often forget about pouring into my pitcher. One thing I make sure I do is to spend time away from the organization with my team, for team building and forming friendships. Once every few months an afternoon off, by myself, to drink coffee, read a book, go for a walk, whatever, and completely escape from work.
This is so important to a balanced life and a life in which you have energy to give your people! Well done!