I was interviewing team members at a new client’s company, and I heard a similar story from all of them. They loved working for this company; they felt like it was a place for them to thrive. The team was great AND they believed in the mission. In fact, everything was great, except…they were exhausted.
”I work really hard, Brad! I’m trying my best, but I just never feel like I catch up.” The CFO was almost in tears as the she told me this.
Why did she feel like she could never keep up?
No matter how hard she worked, the owner worked harder.
He came in at 5 AM fresh from his boxing workout and got right to work. By the time his team arrived at 7:30, he had deposited 4 – 6 emails in each of their inboxes. That 2 1/2 hour head start lasted all day. By the time the team replied to those morning emails, the boss was piling more on. It was all good and important work that had to get done, but it was just too much for them.
But not for the boss.
The boss loved it; he loved having a team that could “work as hard as he could!” When I brought up the feelings of frustration and burnout, he brushed them aside, “We’ll be through this push in a couple of weeks, and things will slow down.”
But things didn’t slow down in a couple of weeks, he initiated a significant product innovation and launched a new marketing program.
That’s when folks started to quit!
Some people have more energy and drive than others do, and you might have more than most people. You might be an outlier! If that’s the case, expecting people to keep up with your pace only creates burnout and disappointment.
You can only break things as fast as your team can fix them, and they can’t fix them as fast as you could.
On Saturday we’ll talk about some changes you could make that will make your team feel better, without the company falling apart; but for now, ask your folks how they’re feeling. Are they energized and enthusiastic, or are they worn down and demoralized?