No one wants to burn out or worse lose valuable volunteers or teammates to the dreaded “burn”. Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo! has an awesome quote about burn out:
“I have a theory that burnout is about resentment. And you beat it by knowing what it is you’re giving up that makes you resentful.”
So as leaders how do we help protect our volunteers and teams from burning out or becoming resentful of the tasks that are required to achieve our goals? How do we position those whom work with us as much in their sweet spot as possible?
First, we have to listen. What makes our best people their best? Pay attention to those things and as a leader; creatively find ways to position them in areas where the work will fuel them. Communication, the art of listening as much as talking, is vital to keeping burnout on the run and volunteers/teams engaged.
But sometimes it is not possible to position people where they want to be. When we can’t position a volunteer or teammate in the middle of their sweet spot we have wrap every task in vision. Explain the WHY and make it exciting. Even poorly explained “WHY’s” move the needle more than a “HOW” that doesn’t speak to the passions of the person who will perform the exercise.
Expectations matter. Clarify the win! When expectations and wins are clear they make a huge difference. Everyone likes to win. If you are anything like me you hate to lose more than they like to win. It is so important that we create a clear target and as much as possible celebrate every win our volunteers or teams achieve! Part of clarifying the win is making sure that in the process volunteers and teams are prepared, trained, and equipped to win at the tasks assigned.
It also helps creative people to shuffle the deck sometimes. Diversify the work and give creative people new challenges. We might just find that we have hidden skills or talents on our teams that are waiting to be cultivated.
And finally, be thankful! There are a million jobs and volunteer opportunities in the world. People don’t have to serve with us. They are choosing to do so and they are choosing you, your vision, and the vision of your organization. Let them feel, hear, and experience your gratitude. We are only as good as the teams and the volunteers we have around us!