Being a business leader has always been hard work, but today’s workplaces are pushing many leaders to the brink.
The expectations for business leaders have changed, and leaders’ roles have become more complex. To effectively lead today, leaders need more than just managerial skills; they must also be more authentic, adaptive, and empathetic. That can be a tall order in a business world that’s been battered by the pandemic and struggled with ensuing economic and labor-related issues.
To help cultivate and support new and existing leaders, HR professionals design and administer leadership development programs; Gartner reports that leadership development is a priority for 60% of HR leaders. Unfortunately, nearly a quarter (24%) say their current leadership development approaches don’t work. This is often because typical approaches fail to address the full range of barriers that prevent people from becoming effective leaders – including obstacles that come from within, like exhaustion, uncertainty, and self-doubt.
The result isn’t just that the pipeline of new leaders is drying up. It’s also that existing leaders are struggling with their own morale, engagement, and energy. “Managers are even likelier than the people they manage to experience burnout,” writes analysis firm Gallup. “In other words, the people most responsible for team performance are also at the highest risk of burning out.” Gallup cites several contributing factors:
- Unclear expectations combined with competing priorities
- A heavy workload interrupted by frequent distractions
- High levels of job stress
- Frustration around performance reviews
Worse, burnout among managers is communicable. They spend their workday giving their team members energy to finish their tasks and supporting their leaders’ requests, which can leave them with little time or energy left for other activities. Then, they have less to give to their team members, which can turn into a vicious cycle.
What can organizations do?
- Provide adequate training and support so leaders can be effective in their roles.
- Ensure leadership development activities address the internal obstacles mentioned above, helping leaders learn healthful and effective ways to cope with uncertainty and doubt.
- Involve leaders in decision-making, especially in decisions that affect them.
- Right-size and re-distribute workloads so leaders are not overwhelmed.
- Offer leaders more autonomy; no one likes being micromanaged, especially not managers themselves.
- Make sure the leadership development pipeline offers continuous opportunities for skills development, career coaching and advancement, and other forms of self-improvement.
- Encourage and, if necessary, enforce a healthy work-life balance with required breaks and time off.
- Make sure leaders are well-recognized and rewarded for their successes.
Engaged, energetic, and enthusiastic leaders are key to organizational success. With the necessary tools and skills, organizations can empower their leaders and power up their leadership development processes. The result will be a more successful business overall.
CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.