The goal of any project is to succeed. The goal of its manager is to ensure that happens. Simple as that.
The engine that drives success are people, and if they suffer prolonged mental or physical exhaustion (a.k.a. a burnout), you will have to go to the repair shop immediately. Or, you can do some good ol’ preventive maintenance so your entire team can function like a well-oiled machine.
Here is what you can do to prevent and overcome burnout in your team.
For Starters, Talk About It
Even though we live in a day and age where everyone is free to pick their own sex and orientation, there are still some taboo topics that remain unaddressed. Burnout is one of them. Do the unthinkable and talk freely about it with your team. Ask each team member what they like best about their job and what demotivates them the most. Don’t use these sessions as an excuse to criticize poor performance, view it as a learning curve and a way to track how your team feels and thinks.
Change of (S)Pace
Midway through the project, do a collaborative exercise where people can experience each other’s jobs. An understood challenge is a shared challenge — this promotes patience, trust, loyalty, and appreciation for the skills the other person has. You can pair people together and have them work on the same assignment by going through each other’s departments together. Don’t forget to ask for feedback after this exercise has been completed.
Morning Warm Ups
If there is an exercise room or a relax area in your office, take about 15 minutes every morning to engage in recreational activities. It could be anything from gymnastics, running, and stretching to reading a book and discussing last night’s sports game. Make it official. Include those sessions as must-attend meetings in the online project management software you are using and keep track if there are people who are skipping them.
This may sound very hipstery to you, but it is actually a great group exercise that will help alleviate and manage stress. Practice breathing exercises with your team and teach them to make it a habit not only in your scheduled sessions but also when they feel stress starts creeping under their skin.
There will always be more work that needs to be done, but your priority should be the long-term mental health of your team. A “sick” team cannot produce quality work no matter how many hours of the day they put in it. Insist on people taking their breaks but don’t forget to monitor how they do it. Taking the time to vent and decompress is essential in letting go of negativity and not bringing it back into the room with all the other team members.
Employing de-stressing techniques to keep the burnout disease away from your team is an absolute must. Of course, there are project goals you need to meet and are responsible for achieving, but the body dies without a beating heart. Your people are your project’s beating heart. Be a good cardiologist and make sure it stays healthy.