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What is one way to help burned-out executives get back on track?

5 min read


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Q. What is one way to help your executives get back on track when they are feeling burned out?

1. Send them to a professional development boot camp

There are great boot camps out there to help with personal and professional growth. Let your executive choose what they want to attend, and send them off! Fund the program of their choice, and they will likely come back with a new lease on life as they have been exposed to some heavy mental toughness training. It’s always nice to get a big dose of perspective when you’re feeling burned out. — Drew Gurley, Redbird Advisors

2. Remind them that breaks are OK

I am often surprised when my executives know that they need a vacation from work but are afraid to commit to it. This is where we can help them. Remind them that the team can cover while they are out and that we know how important breaks are for senior executives. We want to support them in getting some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Sometimes managers forget they can feel burned out too. — Robby Hill, HillSouth

3. Create 90-day sprints

Setting long-term goals can really drain your energy, because there is just SO much ahead. Instead, we’ve found that our focus and determination drastically increases when we set “90-Day Sprints” verses 8 to 12+ month goals. These are achievable yet challenging goals, bringing you closer to your long term targets. This will reinvigorate the team and reverse that burned out feeling. — Alex Miller, PosiRank LLC

4. Give them a short, well-defined task

One way to help your executive get back on track from burnout is to give them a short, fast, well-defined task that the executive can feel good about upon completion. Many executives thrive on accomplishment, and shorter tasks can deliver quick achievements that make longer tasks seem more manageable. — Daniel Lambert, BoardVitals

5. Go on a team retreat

When people get burned out, they need a break. You want to make sure you give them those breaks so that they come back ready to work hard again. With a team, you can turn those breaks into bonding. Take the group on a cool retreat or a trip, rent a house and have a party, or do a creative project together like record an album. Whatever you do, it should be about being together; no work involved. — Ty Morse, Songwhale

6. Model better work-life integration

True work-life balance is difficult, especially for executives. But effective work-life integration, in which one finds sufficient time for professional and personal interests and priorities, is something that you, as a founder, should demonstrate on an everyday basis. If they see you working 24/7, they’ll feel they have to follow suit no matter what you say. — Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

7. Learn more about their passions

Having a conversation with executives to discover what they are passionate about and what does get them excited is imperative in identifying areas where you can re-focus their attention. Often they need a new direction or challenge. I also think it’s OK to recognize and put “moving onto new companies” on the table; I’ll even offer to help if that’s really the only way forward. — Jacob Goldman, 10up Inc.

8. Break up their patterns

Breaking the pattern of the daily grind can be a really effective way of getting peoples’ heads back in the game. Whether that be taking people offsite to spend time together or rotating people into new teams or onto new, high-profile projects, it can be a great way to provide some diversity from the day-to-day. — Chris Cancialosi, gothamCulture

9. Give them something to feel proud of

People do not get burned out from having too much to do. People get burned out when they feel like they are not accomplishing enough. Give them something to do that they can knock out of the park and then make them feel great about getting it done. Write a press release about what they did, and get their name somewhere online. Victories beget victories just as success begets success. — Douglas Hutchings, Picasolar

10. Review their vacation days

Often, I find that when somebody is feeling burned out, it’s because they aren’t properly using their allotted vacation days. It’s important to review staff’s vacation days from time to time. Vacation days aren’t just a perk; they are a necessity. Taking some time off from work clears your head, and makes you come back stronger. — Cassie Petrey, Crowd Surf

11. Analyze and alleviate the pain points

Start by figuring out what is causing the burnout. If it’s a matter of overwork, then it may be time to help delegate better. If it’s a matter of the work itself or monotony, then either shaking up the routine or changing the role may be appropriate. Send them on a unique assignment or project for a week or two, or a vacation. — Alec Bowers, Abraxas Biosystems