Exhaustion is a shared decision
Let me make sure there is NO confusion: Building Strategic Managers and eliminating Exhausted Heroes is the responsibility of both the individual leader and the senior leaders of the organization. In the workplace, it’s common for everybody to look at somebody else to solve any given challenge. Stop pointing fingers and start working together to solve the problem!
When you look at executives, they look at the high potentials or those people stuck in an Exhausted Hero role, and they say, “Well, they’ve got to figure it out.” If that’s the case, then the executives aren’t taking responsibility for their own development.
Go online and read the Glassdoor reviews page of any company out there. If you find comments from tenured employees saying something to the extent of “these young people need to suck it up, this is business, not a playground,” then that’s a sign the company culture and senior leadership are out of touch with their own responsibility.
At the same time, because Exhausted Heroes are so exhausted, they’re more likely to look for an outward cause, rather than inward. They’ll wonder, “Why am I not getting help? Why am I stuck here? Why does my boss not understand this?” They likewise have a projection out, for somebody else to take responsibility for their exhaustion.
Both sides aren’t taking responsibility. We can really look at this situation as an opportunity for better professional development. When it comes to an individual’s development, executives and Exhausted Heroes must sit down together and say, “Okay, what is our intention? Where are going? What are we trying to do? How are we trying to get there?”
It needs to be a mutual responsibility, because it’s really hard to do without both parties actively participating. The executive who says, “Hey, middle manager, figure it out,” is now putting responsibility on somebody who might not have the resources do it, and will then leave. If you are the middle manager who’s saying, “I need the boss to figure it out,” you may get really tired of waiting and leave. Those are two ways to really quickly create employee turnover with future leaders with high potential within your organization. Instead, sit down together, show your engagement, show your investment, and execute a game plan together.
This approach of mutual responsibility creates higher retention within these leaders. It creates better leaders who are going to be able to take on more work, continue to take on more responsibility, and continue to lead their teams in a way that will continue to grow profits for the organization.