The topic of employee burnout is almost always connected with tips on self-care and personal boundary setting. These tactics are extremely important to implement, and they should not be the only considerations when it comes to protecting a healthy work-life balance.
There is no amount of self-care that will fix a situation where a person is consistently given a workload that cannot realistically fit into a normal week. Leaders and managers have a responsibility to build an environment where burnout is atypical. One way to begin is by setting a team vision.
How a Team Vision Supports Employee Wellness
Identifying a collective focus helps everyone with prioritization. By understanding the team’s aspirations, staff members can look at their tasks and assess where they are aligned to those aims, what they should concentrate on and importantly, what they can let go of.
In addition to clarifying the direction and the sorts of projects personnel should be engaging in, a compelling vision may inspire greater motivation and engagement by serving as a rallying cry.
9 Steps to Develop a Vision
While it’s possible to complete the steps below in isolation, I recommend that team leaders collaborate with their employees on as much of the process as possible. Getting inputs from staff members will promote consensus and buy in.
1. Refocus on the company’s mission and values.
Encourage staff to spend time re-familiarizing themselves with the business’s purpose, principles and ideals. Then, in a meeting or through an asynchronous collaboration system, ask employees to express their perspectives and get grounded in the meaning of the mission to promote a shared understanding of the organization’s targets.
2. Examine the team’s role in achieving department and/or corporate objectives.
With a common view of your company’s focus, host a discussion with the group to delve into the role they collectively have in achieving the higher-level objectives. Encourage each person to come prepared to share their thoughts on:
- How the team is currently driving toward the desired outcomes
- Where they have potential to have a greater impact
- What they should have a role in – For example, I recognize my Learning & Development cohort may not be the best group to tackle our organization’s operational needs.
3. Translate impact into responsibilities and activities.
As employees select a direction, spend some time identifying the specific types of duties, tasks and projects that would be part of it. Be mindful of balancing bold statements with practical considerations around job functions and resources. While future-orientation is important, it is also vital that the team doesn’t overcommit on what they can deliver on – otherwise, burnout is likely to reemerge.
4. Write down your aim.
With the group’s aspirations and realistic activities identified, come up with a few phrases for the vision statement. Some initial ideas may surface during your time together, and this is a good time for asynchronous collaboration. If someone on your team is a wizard with words, invite them to create options the group can consider collectively. When a few phrases are bubbling to the top, use the voting or polling features in your email or chat platform for final decision-making.
5. Communicate the concept with cross-functional collaborators.
Do not keep the vision a secret. Be sure to share it with other leaders and colleagues that regularly engage with the team to bring clarity to the areas of focus. These conversations may encourage others to more formally identify their own team priorities and further reduce burnout by helping each division recognize when and how their counterparts should contribute to different initiatives.
6. Identify any items to start or stop doing.
Next, it’s time to translate targets into action. Although it’s likely the team’s initial focus will line up with the projects that are already taking place, there may be some tasks that do not necessarily connect to the group’s newfound priorities. In these cases, people leaders can collaborate with their employees to uncover how the responsibilities can be readjusted, reallocated or removed.
7. Consider individual needs.
In addition to assessing bigger projects for the collective, managers may apply the vision through a personal lens. In one-on-one meetings, they may want to discuss the tasks and activities that each person is engaging in to uncover if there are opportunities to better align their work. It’s also worthwhile to discuss any new projects or learning opportunities that could support the team’s focus and individual growth.
8. Give permission to say no.
When a person is asked to take on a new task or participate in an initiative, they may feel obligated to get involved. Having clarity on where the group is headed provides a buffer to empower everyone to evaluate what sorts of projects are reasonable fits and which ones may be outside their scope, so they can set boundaries. Be sure to have conversations with direct reports about when and how to set healthy limits. I encourage you to use this article for inspiration!
9. Check in.
After spending so much time creating a team vision, it’s important that your people consistently use it to guide their work. Partner with staff to identify how often the group will check in with one another and reassess their workload against their targets. As a rule of thumb, I recommend at least a quarterly conversation.
With a team focus clearly identified, it will become much easier for individuals to prioritize their efforts and unify around common goals. To empower your people with more strategies and tips to find their focus and reduce burnout, I invite you to explore our Manager Toolkit: Battling Burnout.
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