Help Your Team Do More Without Burning Out
HBR, Article by Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg
OCTOBER 15, 2018
WORKFORCE rETENTION
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CREATING A STRONG ECONOMY
LEADERSHIP
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As we begin our coaching session, Nick is fired up. He radiates energy, his eyes are beaming with determination, and he never really comes to a full rest. He speaks passionately of a new initiative he is spearheading, taking on the looming threats from Silicon Valley, and rethinking his company’s business model completely.
I recognize this behavior in Nick, having seen it many times over the years since he was first singled out as a high-potential talent. “Restless and relentless” have been his trademarks as he has risen through the ranks and aced one challenge after another. But this time, I notice something new. Beneath the usual can-do attitude there is an inkling of something else: Mild disorientation and even signs of exhaustion. “It’s like sprinting all you can, and then you turn a corner and find that you are actually setting out on a marathon,” he remarks at one point. And as we speak, this sneaking feeling of not keeping pace turns out to be Nick’s true concern: Is he about to lose his magic touch and burn out? Nick is not alone. In a psychologist’s practice, common themes rise and wane across a cohort of clients. Right now, I see a surge of concern about speed: getting ahead and staying ahead. More clients use similar metaphors about “running to stand still” or feeling “caught on a track.” Invariably, their first response is to speed up and run faster.

But the impulse to simply run faster to escape friction is obviously of no use for the long haul of a life-long career. In fact, our immediate behavioral response to friction shares one feature with much of the general advice about speeding up: It is plainly counterproductive and leads to burn out rather than break out.
To add insult to injury, the way to wrestle effectively with the challenge of sustainable speed is somewhat counterintuitive and even disconcerting — especially to high-performing leaders who have successfully relied on their personal drive to make results. Read Full Article Here: HBR.COM
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