Are Your Top Achievers at Risk of Burnout?

Top achievers are typically workaholics by nature. They don’t settle for mediocre results. It’s as if though they’re wired to their company’s mission and results. On both a professional and personal level, they’re committed to make it happen for you. Then, suddenly, it’s as if they wake up one day and ask themselves “Why am I giving my life to this company?”

So, what can you do to help your top achievers? Telling them to work less isn’t effective but you might be able to help them work smarter. It’s essential to make your top achievers understand that it’s to their own benefit to create healthier boundaries for work and budget their time better. The following are a series of questions and identifiers that I’ve gathered throughout my corporate and executive coaching life.

  • Burnout barometer: How do you know if your top achievers are feeling burned out? Who are your the top contributors that you need to focus your attention to guarantee they are not at the point of disengaging?
  • Meaningful work: Your key players will almost always stay engaged if they continue to find meaning in their work. How do you reward all the effort they pour into your company in a way that touches their heart & soul (or brain)? Are they impacting a greater cause? Are they seeing any type of gain on a personal or emotional level? Are they getting the type of recognition they want/need? Does your company have an outreach program or make significant social impacts?
  • Team structure: How do you measure if a Leader has the team size needed to get the job done? How do you review process and procedures to avoid bureaucracy and red tape?
  • Productivity tools: I can assure you that many top achievers could do more if they had better time management tools. Learning these skills is easy; however adopting a new habit and changing a personal operating system requires another step. Training can be supplemented with leadership coaching to support long lasting behavior change.
  • Delegation: Many top achievers tend to be controlling and find it difficult to delegate their work. How can you help them learn how to delegate better?

The above checklist is meant to serve as a litmus test to determine if action needs to be taken. As an executive coach, I still see many companies expecting more and more from their top achievers, pushing them to the point where they disengage and look for a way out. If you have the power in your organization to offer advice to your key contributors, make the time to analyze how you can help them achieve even more.

Leticia Hartmann is a Certified Executive Coach and Founder at Exploritat.