By Molly McGrath
We’ve all said it at one point or another: I’m just so burnt out. Whether you’re an employee, employer, or solopreneur. It’s not just you—workplace related burnout is so commonplace that the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies it as a syndrome, and Harvard Business School estimates that it is responsible for generating up to $190 billion per year in healthcare costs.
The face of burnout isn’t just being overworked, stretched too thin, with not enough resources (though that certainly is ONE of the faces of burnout). Burnout can mean that you’re simply overloaded—you’re engaged with the work, but just have too much of it on your plate, with no prioritized to-do list or “how to” manual for getting it all done.
And “too busy” for the power of the pause to connect to declare a path and plan to plan your work and work your plan. Burnt out may be feeling under-challenged and apathetic to their task lists. And still, sometimes burnout manifests as a feeling of neglect or impostor syndrome. Am I an effective leader? Am I doing this right? Should I just give up? When you’re burnt out, you’re tired, cynical, unfocused, and—honestly—inefficient.
Running a solo or small law firm is far from easy, and, in fact, lawyers are at a higher risk of burnout than many other professionals. How many times have you lost track of when your last day off was? How often to get to enjoy dinner with your family instead of while staring at a computer screen? How often do you miss dance recitals or baseball games or engagement parties or social events that add value to your life as a human?
Maybe you don’t see a way around burnout. But we do.
For more than 25 years (and counting), we’ve been helping attorneys and law firm leaders to mitigate burnout through effective staffing and employee empowerment…and we’ve done this for over 4,000 firms nationwide. My phone, email, coaching calls, podcast guests and social DM’s have included some rendition of; “Please help me TRANSFORM OUR LEGAL TEAM INTO THE MOST EFFICIENT, RESOURCEFUL & PROFITABLE ASSET OF YOUR BUSINESS, I KNOW ITS THERE, WE JUST DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET THERE!”
I have an unwavering mission, passion and purpose is for aligning the employer, employee relationship. You both want the same thing, but you don’t have the time, knowhow and consistent courageous communication standards for how to get on the same playing field. The 10’s of thousands coaching calls I have facilitated I see the pain and frustration in both the employer and employees’ eyes, and hearts. I see the frustration and defeat day in and day out. Desperate for a clear, concise, well communicated path and plan. With ease and flow.
What I hear from the employer: ·
FEEL ISOLATED & ALONE, NOBODY CARES AS MUCH AS I DO.
Why doesn’t your team care more about building your company?
DESPERATE FOR THE FINANCIAL, EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL FREEDOM YOU WERE PROMISED.
Feel like a slave to your schedule.
TIRED OF PAYING FOR “BAD HIRES”
Not sure how to “Fix” the employees who aren’t pulling their weight…but continue to pay them!
NOT HITTING YOUR GOALS FAST ENOUGH
Aren’t hitting your monthly revenue goals consistently, or at all.
NOT SURE WHAT DIRECTION TO MOVE IN AND ENDLESS “EXPERTS” IN YOUR INBOX POITNING OUT HOW YOU ARE DOING IT ALL WRONG
Scares you to think you’re steering your company towards disaster.
ON THE FLIP SIDE, I HEAR FROM THE EMPLOYEES ….
FEEL LIKE JUST COLLECTING A PAYCHECK...…but you want to be a difference maker!
FEEL INVISIBLE, IGNORED & UNDERVALUED
LACK STRUCTURE & DIRECTION…EVEN THOUGH I HAVE IDEAS BUT NOBODY HAS TIME TO COLLABORATE
Nearly impossible to set goals, gauge impact, and if you’re hitting the ball out of the park or sucking it every day!
YOU WANT TO BE EMPOWERED…You just don’t know where to start!
YOU'RE AFRAID TO MAKE SUGGESTIONS
You avoid suggesting changes or solutions because you don’t have the language of communication or confidence to speak up and lead.
It is no secret that leadership development is key to the success of high-growth organizations. Indeed, $366 billion is spent globally on leadership training and yet, few such programs find success. And there are very few programs designed and geared towards employees. This is because building effective leaders requires a high-touch, in-person effort aimed at honing soft skills. While the deeply personal nature of such training means there is no formula, until now. Our tried, test and proven process to serve as powerful touchstones to ensure your internal employee leadership process provides the greatest (lasting) success.
“How to fix my employees,” or some version of that, is the number search term we came across when setting up our SEO. It’s also number one when we look at our SEO analytics.
However, it’s not your employees that need fixing. Instead, simply put, it’s a combination of a few “magic bullets”: communication standards, permission standards and internal systems, or lack of systems, are often the root cause of the frustration for both employees and employers. Human beings like to know the beginning, middle, end AND the WHY. And the success of businesses absolutely depends on this.
Many businesses are on a massive growth path right now (exciting news, YES!), which leads to employees and their employers feeling like they are running around with their hair on fire. The team is solid. There’s money in the bank and appointments on the calendar, but everyone is just waiting for the other shoe to drop because everything feels chaotic.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously stated that the only constant in life is change. This applies as much to the world of business as to anything else and one of the main change’s businesses owners faces is an evolution in the fundamental concepts that keep their enterprise ticking. Communication does not mean the same thing it did thirty years ago. Hiring today has nothing to do with bygone times when a person stayed with a company for life. Productivity is in flux as individual cultures grapple with new global norms. The most recent change of this sort involves employee engagement, which in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic does not mean what it used to.
Workplace culture is less uniform today than ever. Some workers have returned to the office while others remain fully remote, and others still maintain a hybrid balance. These unique arrangements reflect the new supreme importance of flexibility. The compounding difficulty of facing a deadly virus and an increasingly unstable world has led workers to prioritize well-being over profit, meaning their patience for rigid corporate structures has run thin. Inspiring employee engagement thus requires paying special attention to individual needs. Much of the current literature about employee engagement and workplace culture frame flexibility too narrowly. Retaining employees is not just about offering remote work opportunities and surprise days off; it is also about empowering workers to shape their roles in the image of their ambitions that serve “true north”.
Retaining Employees Means Reframing the Employer-Employee Relationship Keeping your team together and top talent aboard amidst this changing landscape is all about staying on pace. If you don’t change the way you relate to your employees, you may soon find you won’t have employees with which to relate. This doesn’t mean you need to do all the work, though. The first step to sustained employee engagement, leadership and retention is providing consistent time, attention, and feedback. First and foremost, you are in employing human beings, then human doings. If you don’t get the employer employee relationship first, nothing else can withstand.
In my experience, an underperforming employee, causing drama, or delegating backup is due to the lack of a plan or clarity about what they should be doing. Sadly, the employer believes it is crystal clear.
When it comes to “fixing” your employees, step one is awareness and declaration you can’t do it on your own. Your business depends on it.
Now is the time to go back to basics and create a timeout. Pause and reset. Our highest engaged podcast to date is titled “The Power of the Pause”. That’s the whole intention for this book. A how-to manual to get everyone on the same playing field, speaking the same language and knowing in their bones and blood the permission standards for consistency, persistency, and growth.
I am people just like you. I have sat in the seat of an eager, directionless employee. I now sit in the seat of a visionary entrepreneur responsible for leading and serving clients as well as employees. I have no fancy degree in occupational psychology–just blood, sweat, tears, and tried-and-true methods that I have perfected and trained in the ultimate field of battle–the almighty business culture!
Changes are, you are the type of person who “gets things done.” You are probably the person people always call on when they have a problem–to solicit your opinions or to look to someone they can trust to get the job done. While that might be a great compliment, those intangible qualities are hard to clone. You can’t list them as a skill or certification. There is no degree in “Trust me to get it done.”
If you’re an employer, you just don’t have the time or skillset to train leaders leading leaders. If you are an employee, you can never get time with your boss to talk about how you can step up and lead. This book will teach you how to harness those “human-to-human” skills, develop them, and be able to clarify and duplicate (systematize) over and over. It will result in systematic leadership, more money, more opportunities, and more personal satisfaction for you. Leaders leading leaders.
If you need the “secret sauce” to fixing and retaining employees please reach out and we will share our “Employee Growth Plan” process for supporting you with creating the lasting employee turnaround.
About the Author
Since the late nineties, Molly has coached, consulted and directed presidents and founders of national organizations and over 4,000 law firms in; executive-level leadership, continuous improvement, and team empowerment initiatives to infiltrate new markets, leveraging partner ecosystems and producing profitability.
Molly has 25 years of specific skillset experience serving as a Fractional CEO, CMO marketing, factional CEO, conversation intelligence coaching, team development & leadership, employee empowerment, intrapreneur talent acquisition, Kaizen leadership, root cause analysis, revenue mapping, and action-based project management.