Jul 26, 2013

Burnout and What Leaders Can Do to Prevent It

One of the realities all organizations face is burnout: leaders burnout, your people burnout, burnout happens.

I've been reflecting on my leadership for the past twenty plus years and I know that there were good people - people who love Jesus, who love the church, who appreciated my leadership - who still experienced burnout with my leadership and the church.

I HATE the thought of my actions and my leadership causing people to get frustrated and discouraged.

Life is hard enough, church is hard enough! And the thought that my actions and my leadership caused others to burnout just kills me.

As I consider my ministry one of the areas where my leadership fell short is in helping good people connect what they were doing to the bigger picture.

You see, in leadership and organizational life, there are some things that need to get done that are not fun, glamorous, exciting. There are some things that need to get done that are boring, routine, and difficult.

That's just life. That's organizational reality.

One of the surest way to guarantee burnout and frustration is when people are engaged in activities and responsibilities to which they don't see making a difference.

But here's the thing: there are some activities and responsibilities that don't necessarily produce immediate results that are visible. But if they're not done excellently, the organization crumbles. Accounting, property maintenance, stewardship, fund raising, volunteer coordination, etc., are some examples that come to mind.

If these things don't get done excellently, no organization will function for long.

The key is in reminding and encouraging people that what they are doing absolutely impacts the vitality of the organization. The leader has the capacity to help people see how what they are doing is making a difference.

I can do a better job. I must do a better job of this.

Another way that my leadership has caused burnout is when people are asked to do something that is outside of their giftedness and strengths.

I confess that because certain leadership responsibilities needed to be filled, I've agreed to people being placed in roles that I knew were not their strength or their passion.

That's stupid!

One of the leader's task is to place people in roles and situations where they can thrive.

I can and must not do that to people who love God and love the church. That's a sure way to cause people to be discouraged.

Life is hard enough. Church is difficult enough.

Leaders should do their best to not add extra burden to those who are giving of their time, talents, and finances to see God change the world.

I pray that I am getting better as a leader.

The people of LCOP deserve to have a leader like that.

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