If you’re an executive, ask yourself:
- How did you learn to become a strategic manager? One who spends most of your days in leading others, and little of your time in executing.
- Where did you learn the skills and tools necessary to focus on managing and leading your team, rather than getting mired in the day-to-day fires?
- Did you have a mentor or former boss who demonstrated for you the essentials of being the foremost leader and not the foremost do-er? Did you learn by shadowing them or through other forms of osmosis? Or did you participate in a management or executive level training program?
- Did your current or previous employer invest in your future by providing you training? Or workshops with a consultant? Or 1:1’s with a coach? Or all the above?
As executives, we’ve likely had formal leadership training beyond that of our direct reports. Which means if you are supervising an exhausted hero, a leader trying too hard to do it all, then a dose of formal training could help them to avoid burnout.
Today, corporate America doesn’t invest in leadership training and coaching like it used to. Think back to the heydays of GE and IBM management training, when corporations equipped generations of leaders with the skills and tools they’d need to manage teams, and some day rise into the company’s executive senior leadership.
Nowadays, once supervisors and executives identify a high potential person, the common practice is for them to say, “Let’s just throw him/her in the deep end! They’ll figure it out.” But “figuring it out” isn’t always the case. Burnout is usually the outcome.
McKinsey cited “74% of US leaders and 83% of global leaders think they are unprepared for their new roles.” John Ryan, the President and CEO of the Center for Creative Leadership wrote in an article that nearly two thirds of new managers never received any leadership training, so they don’t know how to shift from standing out as an individual to leading a team.
A little bit of training and coaching can go a lot further than just the bottom of the deep end. Rather than making our high-potential employees sink or swim, the onus is on all of us to get these individuals the training they need to overcome their exhausting habits.
Executives today must fully understand their responsibility to nurture talented subordinates in a way that avoids burnout.