Anybody can burn out. Listen to Jules’ story about how burnout almost cost him his life, and what his takeaways are from the whole experience.
Why I created this podcast
This episode goes into the team and company level impacts of burnout, and how address it as a manager who wants to help mitigate the problem and support everyone through this difficult situation.
As a highly demanding job led him to burn out, Jules fell ill with Guillain Barre Syndrome which left him paralyzed and in intensive care for 80 days. Following that he spent four months in a rehabilitation unti to relearn how to use his hands and carry out basic tasks such as feeding himself as well as being able to stand and walk.
In his role as an executive coach, Jules now helps individuals to combat the devastating impact of burnout. Jules’ biggest motivator in life is to help others to reach their own potential and create a life they love without burning out along the way. Enabling them to break through the barriers they encountered and to achieve incredible outcomes for themselves. He has experienced first hand how the power of the mind and having a focus can reap many rewards.
I’m the believer as anything is possible, anything is possible even when you’re going through the worst case scenario in your whole life. And I remember my situation. I didn’t know when the money was coming along, but when I was in hospital, I couldn’t worry about that.
I had to worry about my recovery. Everything else looked after itself. And in actual fact, it did. You are listening to the online remotely podcast, the show dedicated to helping lead distributor teams under difficult circumstances. I’m the host, Luke Scherba, and I’ve participated in a run distributed teams for almost a decade. As a practitioner, I’m speaking with experts on leadership, strategic alignment and work to help you navigate the issues start facing after you get. Welcome back.
This is the second part of the conversation with Jules Turner, the executive coach specializing in burnout, and we cover why burnout occurs in and affects the teams. The is a part of how to approach this, how to help someone who might be at risk of burning out, and Jules’s approach to counteract the negativity around the pandemic and the additional stress that it’s putting on people.
Let’s let’s begin let’s shift gears a little bit.
What about implications for the teams and organizations like of an individual either struggling with this or already feeling the effects of it?
Let’s take an example, let’s take a senior professional who is the type of person I target, so expect those guys to be leaders and if they are leading a team struggling, then how is that going to reflect on the team that they’re managing and how they’re performing themselves?
Of course, that person also has to be answerable to. Let’s say board level directors or people that are slightly above them, they have to deliver into, there’s going to be a reflection on how they’re performing as professionals, as team leaders.
You know, they’re going to have that. They’re going to have to motivate the team to deliver. But also they’re going to have to be there to. Provide the results to the senior managers. Does that make sense?
You know, the pressure is on them to perform, but and and they’re getting pressure from both sides. If the person that leads by example of their performance themselves goes down, then that’s going to have an impact on the team below them. If they’re the team that they’re managing is looking to them, for example, but that they’re struggling. Then how is that going to fan out to the team themselves? They are the team themselves going to be motivated?
Are they going to help? Are they going to go their own way? Are they going to be distracted themselves? Are they going to it’s their performance going to go down because that one person that’s at the head of the team is struggling. The ripple effect. Downwards or to that team is going to it’s going to be quite impacting, I think.
Yeah, and what about if we’re talking about the burnout of a team member and we have a team leader who has the suspicion that this is happening?
Yeah, that’s an interesting thought as well, because I think that people work in many different ways. And there’s there’s there’s certain people that wouldn’t have empathy. For that team member, there are other people that would have empathy for that team member, I was talking to somebody this week. She had a breakdown, relationship breakdown. Her boss was really good and basically said to her, talk to me, the door is always open. If you talk to me, you’ve always got somebody to hear you as long as you turn up at the office when he can.
I don’t care whether your productivity is nil or 100 percent as long as you turn up, but that you’re looking after yourself. And if you need any help, then just let me know and I can help you. Fantastic team management and individual management. Not because that gives that person the knowledge that they are going to be supported regardless of what they’re going through. And of course, if that person is not contributing that team manager, that leader is going to help take up the slack, reallocate tasks and responsibilities so that slack is taken up by other people.
And if the team is cohesive through good leadership, then that team will be prepared to take up that slack and support that individual through their own process and of course, help them and encourage them to bring them back up to speed and bring them back in when they’re ready.
There’s also other instances where managers aren’t empathetic because of their own situation. They’re probably being pressurised from above, but don’t know how to manage things. Clearly, they may not have the necessary skills or they may be motivated by other things. They may even be going through their own burnout experience because of other things. That situation itself can have a detrimental effect to the team. It can create tension within the team because that individual within the team has broken down or had at some sort of breakdown or burnout and is not being supported by that team management proceeding to that.
They have a long period of underperformance relative to whatever standard is set. That’s clearly going to cause issues in a team, assuming it’s a real team and not just a bunch of people who report to someone. And that’s the other.
That’s the other side. That’s the other thought, isn’t it? Good team management is cohesion and and building the team food to trust and example. Whereas if you’ve got a bunch of people just reporting into somebody that doesn’t really care, then you’re right, you don’t really have a cohesive team.
D How do you think about performance in the context of someone who’s possibly going through burnout in those earlier stages?
What’s a good and healthy and sensible way to think about this? How do you address this really on both sides of the coin? I guess I’m making the implicit assumption here that the burnout is caused by expectations that are unrealistic. Is that true as burnout happened largely because of that?
Or could it be caused by more internal factors like how the situation is perceived as opposed to an external thing?
That’s a good point, actually, because I think in some ways it is a perception of the person themselves.
Their own expectations are possibly misaligned by or unaligned to other people’s expectations. There is a whole host of different and various degrees of factors that are involved here.
If I think about myself underlying it all, I want to create more wealth for myself. Whether you could do that through to an employee job is another thing.
But what you try and do is to is to try and. Put yourself out there more now. I mentioned to you that I was looking for another job to try and get. An increase of salary. I also decided that what I could do is to. Put myself out there more in my role and take on more responsibility that the underlying problem is financial worries, in order to try and address that, I had to put myself forward for everything that there was to show up.
The expectations for mothers became higher because I was showing up more, I was being loaded up with more stuff, more responsibility, that there was a certain amount of support, but it was my own.
Perception, in order for me to manage my own financial situation, I had to do more, that makes sense. And I think that.
Was I was heading me towards my own burnout. This happens in all sorts of cases.
In all honesty, you know, it’s people’s perception and putting their own. Thoughts and expectations and ideas and pressures onto themselves. Let’s take, for example, what is commonly known as a people pleaser, so they’re going to go and. Do as much as they can to please other people. If you’re a senior manager and you’re a people pleaser, then you’re going to be taking on as much responsibility or something like that in order for your misplaced idea of pleasing the senior people because you’re showing up to do that work.
The police doing as much as they can to please other people.
That puts pressure on them to perform to the best of their ability. And when maybe negative feedback comes through, they feel really bad about it because they are on this hamster wheel of doing their utmost and doing their best to please other people. There’s so many different factors. One of the things I do with my clients is I do a what we call a risk profile. So it’s understanding how they operate in different environments. It’s a very quick and interesting way of understanding that person and their personality and how they operate, how they perceive themselves and how others perceive them, but how they perceive within a stressful situation.
So you can work out really quickly what their M.O. is. And of course, the pressures will be different for them. Pressures are different for each individual.
In all honesty, yeah, it does feel like the internal stuff is something that if someone does realize that they’re at risk of this, it’s something that they can definitely do. They can always change what’s external to them. But absolutely.
But at least it’s actionable if you’re willing to take the step.
My message is anything is possible. I am living proof of that by bearing in mind what I went through. Anything is possible.
And although it. Could or does look impossible and fearful if we take that step back and seek the right help and the help will be positive help that you can take the steps. There’s things that we have got that we don’t know about ourselves, the skills that we have that we don’t know. And once we become aware of those skills and and characteristics, then we can do anything.
If let’s say, for example, you’ve been an I.T. professional, Luke, I’ve been an I.T. professional. A lot of the work that I did was coding and so was yours. And you think I can write a computer program.
But the reality is you got other soft skills and other skills that you can bring into an environment. And even if you take it out of that environment, you can take it into a different environment.
So if you’re a computer programmer and you want to become a boat builder, for example, there’s no reason why you can’t become a boat builder, because you can learn things.
But you’ve also got things that you can take with you to become a boat builder. You may have been good at woodwork at school, but you’ve forgotten what to do or how to do that.
But with the things I do, I start to discover those things that. I’ve been left dormant for a long time, so I have so much quality and can create so much quality in our lives and help us to move forward because we become aware of those hidden skills.
I actually got an award in ninth grade for woodworking. So there you go. We’re both older and that’s a high there.
This is Luke. And just for a quick bit of back story, this podcast is part of my process to create a book called The Line Remotely, which will cover roughly the same topics as we have on the podcast, if you’d like a free advance copy of the book. I’d be more than happy to give you one. Just to be clear, it’s totally free. There’s eight chapters as of today available for presell and people are buying it right now.
And this offer will go away as soon as the book is fully launched. My main request is that you leave a review of the podcast using rate this podcast dot com slash a line remotely. It’s designed to work on your phone, but you can do it at your desk, too, and then forward me a screenshot of that to customer success at a line remotely dotcom. And I’ll hook you right up. Just take a quick break. Rate this podcast dot com slash a remotely and get your free copy now.
Let’s change gears a little bit. What advice do you have for people so both managers and people being managed going through lockdown’s covered the pandemic?
I mean, before we go there, what have you seen when speaking with people in terms of burnout or the risk of burnout?
Okay, so if we take it in terms of the pandemic cover, it’s an incredibly unknown and challenging time.
We have to take each step as it comes. One of the biggest things that is really important to be aware of is all the negativity that’s being put out there.
For example, there’s a huge impact in job losses and that sort of thing. But going back to the idea of what do you carry, what skills have you got, what hidden skills have you got, if there’s a risk that the job loss in your arena?
Think about what value you can add to something else or think about what it is that you wanted to do for a long time. And it’s an opportunity for you to go forward with.
This is a moment of opportunity as much as anything. So you look at it from a positive perspective. When I was in hospital, I wanted to walk out of hospital. I didn’t know how I was going to do it.
But all I knew is that every day if I put in the work, then something would happen. If I didn’t put in the work, nothing would happen.
And that is one clear thing, is just putting doing something towards it every single day would eventually make it happen. Don’t don’t get me wrong.
It was very painful, but. I knew that was where I wanted to be in this instance, as I say, don’t be put off by the fear because there’s fear going through the world at the moment about this situation, about job losses and money and all of that sort of stuff. If you switch off all the negative noise, think about what it is that you want. Take that step back, engage with somebody, it’s going to help you invest in your own development, because if you do that, then you’ll succeed because.
I’m the believer as anything is possible, you know, absolutely anything is possible even when you’re going through the worst case scenario in your whole life. And I remember my situation. I didn’t know when the money was coming along, but when I was in hospital, I couldn’t worry about that.
I had to worry about my recovery. Everything else looked after itself.
And in actual fact, it did. Now, from the current perspective, that gives us a level of additional comfort to you, I’m guessing that things can look after themselves to some extent as long as you take care of the main thing.
Take care. The main thing, which is yourself, the other analogy is in an aeroplane when it’s depressurized, put your own oxygen mask on first, metaphorically, look after yourself first and then you can start looking after everybody else. If you start looking after everybody else before you’ve put your own oxygen mask on, you’ll run out of oxygen and you’ll die.
So you’ll be good for nobody.
If there’s something that you want to do, even if the situation is incredibly tight and you know that you’re losing your job or something, think about what it is that you really want to do, get the help to help you make it happen.
Is there any quick diagnosis someone can do to get started as a first step? What would be like a small step that would potentially be a quick win for someone who is concerned about themselves or someone else being on the risk of burnout?
The first thing would be to have a chat with me. I think that would probably be a good a good first step.
That’s a really interesting question. In anything in life, there is no quick win. One of the key things to understand about all of this is the signs that are out there. One of the things I’ve been able to reflect upon are those very signs.
And I’ve recently created a small booklet pamphlet which is entitled Are You Burning Out?
What are the Signs? And I’ve actually reflected on seven of those signs. Let’s take one example. Distraction. We all get distracted, but we and we get distracted by many things. But of course, some of those distractions could be as a result of something really serious going on. People can download my booklet and help them to understand and build awareness, but also take one action.
And I think that’s possibly a good way of actually looking at it. If you are asking what is a quick win, it may be looking at that, but also have a chat with me. I’m always available for a half an hour chat, just as a way of getting to know you. There may be something that you’ll come away with that will allow you to take one step further forward if there’s anything that’s worth having. It does take time, effort and of course, investment in yourself.
That might not necessarily be financial investment. That is investment in yourself, taking care of yourself, you know, taking time to take that step back and even just going for walk and releasing the pressure of the current environment.
That makes perfect sense. The main barrier, as you said before, it’s this denial or lack of awareness, I guess, is the first step. Taking a look at what the signs are and seeing if they apply to you sound like a good first thing.
Those signs in that booklet might not necessarily apply, but there may be other signs. Even if none of those signs apply, the questions within the booklet will help you to do something about the signs that you are feeling at that particular point in time.
You know, and there’s a sense that in all of these, there’s an interrelationship as well.
You know, where can people reach you? How can they find you? I’m very active on LinkedIn. So if you connect to me on LinkedIn, George Turner, you’ll see me. I do have a website, George W W W George Turner Code UK, which is is currently being updated at the moment. But there is something on there you can email me at info at George Turner, Doko Dot UK. But as I say, it’s mainly on LinkedIn that people can find me at the moment.
Do think their message and then the booklet is available on the website or do they just get in touch with you and then you’ll provide it?
They can get in touch with me. I’m currently working on the website soon will be able to send out the booklet through the website.
All it will need is for you to put your email address in. That will be allow you to sort of download the booklet and under you. And then in the booklet, there is also a section there where you can contact me and book a calendar event if need be. Great. All right, thank you very much. Just as I thank you, thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my thing. And it it’s great to be able to talk today.
So this episode really rounds out the conversation with Jules from before and contextualised does it in a company, and it’s pretty clear that the implications for an organization are not just for that person. It affects the people that this person reports to, peers and the employees they’re managing. I think expectations play a really important part here, both of that person and of the people around them in in managing this whole process and in particular, how they influence the internal perceptions of the person who’s kind of teetering on the edge of it.
On the flip side, it also makes it clear that having, you know, a healthy team environment helps prevent this kind of thing from happening. And even if it still happens, it certainly helps handle it in a healthy and supportive way.
So tune in next time. We’re back to the topic of meetings, which, of course, everyone likes to complain about. But the truth is there where the action actually is in a company. See you then. Thanks for listening to this episode of the online Ramogi podcast, if you enjoy the show, please leave a review on iTunes, Google podcasts or wherever you get your podcast.
Anybody can burn out. Listen to Jules’ story about how burnout almost cost him his life, and what his takeaways are from the whole experience.