6 Ways to Develop a Success-Driven Culture While Avoiding Burnout
Building a winning culture within an organisation is a crucial step when trying to build a business that strives for success and constant improvement.
Without the belief and backing of a strong, motivated and happy team, all of these dreams can pale into insignificance, especially if your hyper-focused ideas begin to tire and burn them out.
While this strategy sounds like the ideal situation for your business to be in, it isn’t entirely risk-averse. Cultures that live and breathe success naturally create competitive environments, which can become toxic, leading to burnout, low morale, and tanking productivity.
This is why it’s absolutely essential to get the balance just right if this strategy is one you’re certain of pursuing.
In this piece, we’ll be looking at exactly how you create this high-performance culture without pushing your staff too far.
The Signs of Burnout
Burnout is very much a 21st-century phenomenon, however, since the height of the pandemic, the lines between our work and personal lives are increasingly difficult to distinguish.
A recent survey shows that the average working week for many full-time employees now averages around 47 hours a week, and 18% in the recent poll claim to be working more than 60 hours or more every week.
Burnout is characterised as a state of both emotional and physical exhaustion. This can typically occur when workers are experiencing high levels of stress, or when they have been working within an emotionally demanding environment over a long period.
So, as a leader, what signs do you need to be aware of when it comes to burnout:
- Complete exhaustion and lethargy.
- Negative emotions and attitudes within the team.
- Drop in productivity levels.
- Overwhelmed by the burden of the workload.
With this being the case, it’s very easy to see how a success-driven culture might contribute to these symptoms, when not executed correctly.
Burnout isn’t something that can be fixed on its own, and once it starts to creep into the team it can begin to impact everyone.
This means you have only two options available to you. One is to address the issues that can contribute to burnout and make some serious changes to your working practices. Or, the alternative, and by far the better option, create a culture that not only strives for success but seeks to protect your employees against the ill effects of these difficulties.
6 Ways to Develop a Success-Driven Culture While Avoiding Burnout
#1: Shape Your Business Personality
In order to mould a winning attitude, your staff must feel aligned with the values you’ve laid out before them. Without values that everyone can get behind and feel a part of, you risk allowing some of the team to drift away, no longer feeling integral to the success of the business.
Rather than sitting in your office and scribbling a few disparate ideas, include the team in the process – after all, they’re the ones out there on the ground each day, and they know better than anyone else what they’d like to change about the current culture.
Remember, shifting direction isn’t an overnight process, so you can afford to play around with ideas and new working methods until you find something that suits everyone, to ensure they feel included as your business grows and finds new ways to win.
#2: Be the Example
As a leader within your business, you are the glue that holds the thing together. If you’re not setting the tone for everyone, then this will trickle down into your teams and this is when mediocrity becomes the norm for everyone.
If you want to grasp this opportunity for a highly-successful culture, you need to conscientiously make the decision to embrace the culture. There’s nothing better for an employee than seeing a leadership figure with enthusiasm and passion.
This means you have to be seen to be in the trenches each day, and make yourself available to them for support and to create and maintain a constant stream of communication.
Most importantly though, it must be you that emphasises how important it is to celebrate the wins – no matter how big or small.
#3: Customise Progression
Within any organisation, an employee must feel as though they have opportunities to grow, sharpen their skills and move around within the business.
There’s nothing more demoralising than feeling as though you’re stuck in a role that offers no chance of promotion or progression.
That said, the term “progression” isn’t linear and can mean different things to different people. For example, for some, it may mean they wish to move sideways to another part of the business to try something different.
Whatever the case may be, it’s very important that you spend some time with each employee outlining what their goals are, what they need to work towards achieving these goals and ultimately deciding on how their role will evolve in the future.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do this. While, yes, many will want to advance and move up the ladder, some may feel more comfortable trying to get the best from themselves in their current role, or might even wish to test their skills in other areas of the business.
It’s important that everyone knows that this process isn’t rigid and there is always room for this to change as the business evolves.
#4: Avoid Micromanaging
Of course, offering up yourself to your staff when they need you is absolutely necessary when contributing towards a successful culture.
The big caveat here though is not to allow yourself to slip into micromanagement. If you find that your employees are deferring to you on even the smallest of details, then it probably means you need to step back and allow your team to do their thing.
You may mean well by getting yourself involved with the team, but if you’re too involved, then you’re only serving to stifle creativity and deflate their confidence.
This will inevitably lead to confusion as you’re essentially pushing your team into a backseat role, which appears to them like you’ve lost trust in their abilities.
Everyone is different, which means that every employee may have a different methodology when it comes to getting things done. So long as robust procedures are followed, then you should be able to hand your team the reins with complete confidence.
#5: Keep Things Simple
The theory of Occam’s Razor states that should you have several competing ideas, the simplest and most direct option is almost always the correct one.
Although this principle can be attributed to the 14th century, it should be your guiding principle when it comes to running your business and striving for that success-driven culture.
Simplicity is always the best course of action when it comes to implementing processes within your business, for several reasons:
- Easy to understand – everyone knows where you’re going, why you’re going there and what they need to do to make it happen.
- Everyone invests in it – once everyone gets point one, their level of confidence and trust in the process increases exponentially.
- Easier to duplicate – a simple model that ticks all the boxes is much easier to duplicate for other processes down the line.
- Measure results – complex strategies are often harder to measure, by keeping it simple it’s easy to see what goes in and what comes out.
#6: Prioritise Wellbeing
We already know that the culture within an organisation defines the ‘why’ behind the business’s existence, and therefore impacts working processes and how your employees experience your developing culture day-to-day.
However, if your working practices and expectations aren’t aligned with what your employees are expecting then everything we’ve covered in this blog so far will come to nothing.
It’s incredibly important to ensure that employee well-being is at the forefront of everything you do, this includes both physical and mental well-being.
By taking your teams’ thoughts and feelings into account, you can create an environment where team members feel valued, energised and motivated.
Sidestepping burnout and creating a team that are motivated to help develop your vision of a success-driven culture are often one and the same. This means, if you don’t invest in your staff, it’s very difficult to achieve the goals you’ve set.
Embedding a new culture into the workplace is never an easy, nor quick fix. However, once you’ve put the time and work into making it work, you’ll find that both you and your employees are grateful for the fantastic results.