519: Leading on Empty: Navigating Burnout with Dave Stachowiak



Dave Stachowiak, Host, Coaching for Leaders Podcast

Dave is a world thought leader on leadership through his company and podcast, Coaching for Leaders

on this episode

Let’s talk about something that hits close to home for a lot of people these days: burnout. The past few years have been rough on workers worldwide, with disengagement and exhaustion on the rise. In fact, a recent Deloitte survey revealed that a whopping 70% of executives are seriously contemplating a job change for better work-life balance. Yikes!

Here’s the thing about leadership burnout—it’s contagious. When leaders are overwhelmed and running on empty, it seeps into the entire organization, causing widespread burnout. That’s why it’s crucial for leaders to take charge and address their own well-being to create a thriving environment for everyone.

Leaders set the tone for the entire team. If they’re constantly burnt out and stressed, it creates a culture of exhaustion and negativity. But if leaders prioritize their well-being, it creates a ripple effect of positivity, productivity, and success throughout the organization. It’s time for leaders to lead the way in battling burnout!

So, how can leaders combat burnout and set a positive example? It starts with self-care. Leaders need to prioritize their physical and mental well-being, whether it’s through exercise, mindfulness, or taking regular breaks. By nourishing themselves, they’ll have the energy and resilience to support their teams effectively.

Leaders should also focus on fostering a supportive work environment. Encouraging open communication, promoting work-life balance, and providing resources for stress management can go a long way in alleviating burnout for the entire team. It’s all about creating a space where well-being is valued.

When leaders prioritize their well-being and demonstrate healthy work habits, it sends a powerful message to the rest of the organization. It shows that taking care of your wellbeing is not only important but also necessary for long-term success.

Leaders, it’s time to step up and tackle burnout head-on! By prioritizing your own well-being, you’ll pave the way for a happier, more engaged team. So, let’s break the cycle of burnout and create a work environment where everyone can thrive. Your team is counting on you!

On this episode of the HTYC podcast, Dave Stachowiak joins us to share practical tips on preventing leadership burnout and making a positive difference in your organization! Dave is a world thought leader on leadership through his company and podcast, Coaching For Leaders. He has been on the show several times before (episodes 126 & 351).

Today, he and Cindy discuss how to proactively prevent burnout, how to have open conversations with your team and boss, and the importance of having regular check-ins with yourself and your team (and what to say in those checkins!). This episode is full of great information for leaders and teams members alike. Listen now!

Relevant Episodes of the Coaching For Leaders Podcast

561: How to Reduce Burnout, with Jennifer Moss

608: The Mindset Leaders Need to Address Burnout, with Christina Maslach

What you’ll learn

  • The importance of leadership vulnerability, and how to approach it with your team 
  • How changing your feedback system can help overall happiness in your organization
  • How teams can work together to prevent burnout
  • The six main indicators of burnout

Success Stories

My favorite part of the career change boot camp was actually having some of those conversations and getting feedback and positive feedback about strengths. And to me that was key, because in that moment, I realized that my network not only is a great for finding the next role, it also is helpful to… they help you remind you who you are and who you will be in your next role, even if the current circumstances are not ideal.

Elizabeth , Digital Marketing Analytics Strategist, United States/Canada

I convinced myself for many years, that I was very lucky to have that job, and I would be crazy to leave it. I convinced myself that the team needed me even though I was miserable. And ultimately, it took me getting physically sick to realize I needed to leave! One of the biggest things that I learned out of the signature coaching was on designing my life. And this is another thing that I had really never, it had, I don't know, if it had never occurred to me. I just never believed it was possible until now.

Michael Fagone, Mortgage Loan Officer and Finance Executive, United States/Canada

“Happen To Your Career forces you to ask questions that didn’t occur for you to ask. You are working with professionals who have not only been in your shoes but are really good at helping other people get out of this place. Intuitively they know more than you do about this process especially if it's your first go around. Why not tap into that insight? What made it clear to me from the beginning was the 8 day email program.” OR “I said this is how much money I have in the bank Scott. This is what I’ve got to work with I need to buy a car. We wrote a budget. Just doing the math you were like you have thirteen months. You are losing money staying where you are. That was all I needed. To budget myself and realize it was real.”

Audrey Romagnoulo, HR Benefits Administrator, United States/Canada

I realized early on in that career transition that if I was going to be able to find a job that was rewarding and in an area I liked, even to just pay rent, I would need help because I wasn’t getting the results I needed I know how to get introduced to people and talk to folks. I’ve done this remote job search thing a few times. What made it different for me though is that it’s not just an opportunity to change location but to change position. It could be not just a lateral move from one city to another but it could also be a promotion. I was moving my career and experience to an area where I went from leading projects to potentially leading teams… Sometimes you can stretch yourself and sometimes you need a team to stretch you beyond your best. I think that’s the biggest value from coaching. You have someone in your corner looking out for your best interests. If they are doing their job as good as Lisa did they are pushing you to be the best version of yourself.

Mike Bigelow, Senior Project Manager, United States/Canada

Dave Stachowiak 00:01

We think about burnout is a problem with a person. And yes it is. And it can be "AND" and there's a big "and" here. It also is often something that's going on in the organization or dynamics that aren't working.

Introduction 00:20

This is the Happen To Your Career podcast with Scott Anthony Barlow. We hope you stop doing work that doesn't fit you. Figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that is unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you feel like you were meant for more, and you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:45

Okay, so here's the dilemma. You're a leader at your company. And guess what? Your employees are feeling totally burned out. Overwhelmed. They're not exactly loving their work. The catch, you're feeling the exact same way. It's like leading a team on an empty tank. So how on earth can you steer your team towards success when you're running on fumes yourself? Today, we have a special guest here to discuss preventing leadership burnout, and ultimately positively impacting burnout in your organization as a whole.

Dave Stachowiak 01:19

Knowing that human tendency in all of us, my invitation to myself, and everyone else is like just to embrace a little bit of the humanity and come back to some questions like, "How are you? How are you doing today?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:36

When it comes to leadership, there's nobody better to talk to in my opinion than Dave Stachowiak. Dave is a world-thought leader on leadership through his company and his podcast 'Coaching for Leaders.' He's also someone who I have a tremendous amount of respect for. He's been on the show many times before. So I'll link those episodes in the show notes so you can go back and hear his entire story. Today, though, I'm actually not going to be your host, which is kind of a bummer, because I always love chatting with Dave. Fun fact, Dave and I actually have a standing 15 minute meeting, standing 15 minute phone call, in fact, every morning to clarify what is most important for our commitments for that day, and where we're placing our attention, so we can hold each other accountable as leaders and business owners. But when I was thinking about bringing Dave back on the podcast to talk about leadership burnout, I actually decided there was someone better to host an episode with Dave. And that person is one of our leaders here at HTYC. She's our director of operations or what we call an Integrator, Cindy Gonos. Before Cindy joined HTYC, she had been a leader at many different organizations for quite a few years. And I knew she would add tremendous value to this conversation. And she stepped into a role here as Director of Operations. She has actually helped me reevaluate my role, taking things off my plate, and ultimately has helped me refrain from spreading myself too thin. And that way I get to continue to do work I truly love which, you know, allows us to role model what we teach everywhere else. Dave and Cindy are two of my very favorite people. And they're both reasons I am able to really thrive in my work. So that means I'm super excited for this episode. Okay, Cindy's gonna take it away, enjoy.

Cindy Gonos 03:25

Well, Dave, first of all, I want to say thank you so, so, so much for being here on the podcast with me. I have been waiting for this for a really, really long time. So I just want to say thank you for joining us here on the Happen To Your Career podcast today.

Dave Stachowiak 03:39

I am so glad to be here. Thank you so much for the invitation. And I've been looking forward to this conversation for a long time, too, because you and I have known each other for a while now. And I know you started listening to Coaching For Leaders a long time ago, and we've exchanged emails. What a treat to get to talk to you now after all this time, thanks for having me.

Cindy Gonos 03:57

I am so excited. It has been eight years coming for us to meet like this. So I'm very, very excited to talk with you, especially about leadership burnout, because I know a little bit about your background, Dave, everyone knows you are the guy– a coaching for leaders– you help leaders get where they need to go to evolve, to thrive. But I also know that you have been in leadership yourself for a really long time. So I'm really, really excited to talk with you about how we can help current leaders start to prevent that burnout. Because here at HTYC, so often the way we're interacting with leaders is when they've reached that burnout point, and they're so fed up that they're ready to escape their current role. I know that 75% of your listeners on the Coaching for Leaders podcast are managers, executives and business owners, and I know that you and I probably both agree that when leaders are taking really great care of themselves, they can make a big impact on their team. And when they're not, burnout not only harms them, but it also trickles down to their team. So as a coach for leaders, I'm really excited to get your take on how leaders can get ahead of burnout and prevent it before it starts.

Dave Stachowiak 05:13

I am so looking forward to this conversation. And it is, of course, very relevant to so many of the struggles that a lot of us are having in organizations these days, and in this pandemic/ post-pandemic world. So much has changed in so many organizations that has surfaced burnout in lots of ways. So I'm glad to be here talking about it with you.

Cindy Gonos 05:37

So when folks start to feel that burnout, can you tell me a little bit, Dave, about what does that feels like for leaders? Because you're talking with leaders all the time. How will they know? What are, kind of, those first things that they start to feel when they're reaching that point of burnout?

Dave Stachowiak 05:54

Well, this is where I'm gonna go to the expert on this. And the person that I keep coming across, her name is Christina Maslach. She is a Researcher at Berkeley. All of the folks who talk about burnout cite her, she is, as far as I can tell, the world's number one researcher expert on the topic of burnout. And I was really fortunate that she came on Coaching For Leaders a while back and talked about burnout. And she and her colleagues have identified six things that tend to be the indicators of burnout. And I think that oftentimes, this is a good starting point for looking at this, not only from our own experience, but also from a leadership lens, thinking about this from the people that we lead and watching for these things, too. And so here's the six, and we could dive in on some of them potentially. But first one is just workload, that's one that comes up a lot, right? Lack of control, or perceived lack of control over our work, lack of reward or recognition, poor relationships, lack of fairness. And then the sixth one, a values mismatch with the organization. And those six tend to be the kinds of things that one or more of them may be the starting points for us starting to feel that sense of burnout. Now, there's lots of other things, those kinds of things can trigger too, of course, but those tend to be the indicators, at least according to the research. And those are the things that I hear about too when I hear people using the word "burnout" of what they're experiencing.

Cindy Gonos 07:37

That makes perfect sense. It sounds to me that all these things could be, if not remedied, completely, at least made better with good communication and conversations, right? Workload, lack of control, or leadership, all of those things really boil down to "are you talking about this burnout?"

Dave Stachowiak 08:02

Yeah. And this actually brings up a broader point that I think is really important with burnout. And coming back to Christina Maslach's work, when she came on our podcast, she had this beautiful analogy of the canary in the coal mine. And for anyone who isn't familiar, years ago before the modern equipment in the coal mines that there are today, miners would use a canary and take it down into the mine with them as a sentinel for when air quality was poor. And if something happened to the canary, it got sick or died, they knew that that was an alarm that the air quality was bad and that gasses were building up. And so what you would do if that happened is you would evacuate everyone, and then you would solve the problem, right? And it's interesting that when we talk about burnout in most situations, and someone's experiencing burnout, we often look at it as a problem with the person versus a problem with the organization. And it would be like a miner, seeing a canary suddenly get ill, and to take that canary out of the mine as they should, and then try to toughen them up, give them a couple of days off and send them back into the mine without having changed anything. And yet, I mean, that's ridiculous. But yet, that's what we do in a lot of organizations– someone is struggling with burnout, and we say, "Oh, you need a week off", "You need two weeks off", or "You need to leave time." And by the way, those are really good and important, healthy things. And it also is incumbent upon us as leaders in our organizations to look at, well, if we don't change anything about the environment, maybe this person's role, the things that cause the burnout in the first place, and when that person comes back back to work after two weeks or leave of absence or whatever, and goes back into the same situation, it's highly likely that they're going to end up in the same situation of burnout. And so I think it's incumbent upon all of us, not only in our own careers, but also leading teams to think about how can we look at the organizational, the structural things that are happening inside the organization that may be triggering burnout. And I think that the ability to do that and take a step back is a real gift that we can give to others in our organizations.

Cindy Gonos 10:37

For folks that are in leadership roles, what advice would you give in order to help their team feel more comfortable with talking about burnout? Because I think one thing is, leaders get burned out. And I think we're taught to put this brave face on. And I feel if, as leaders, we can be more vulnerable with our teams about the things that we need to do to take care of ourselves, then our teams are going to be more willing to take care of themselves, and they can be there to support their leaders as well. So I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to be a leader comfortably, right? Because it's not a comfortable thing for a leader to be vulnerable with their team. What are some ways that you have found, Dave, with folks that you've talked to and worked with that they can show that vulnerability, and be more supportive for their team and allow their teams to be more supportive of them?

Dave Stachowiak 11:32

I'd love to answer that question in two ways. First, a big picture thought and then like the tactical answer, and like some of the things like you can do. So first, the big picture. I often find myself asking leaders, "Tell me about the best experience you've had been managed by someone and tell me about the worst experience." And we have conversations about "Who's the kind of person you'd like to be led by?" And when we have a conversation like that, the kinds of things I almost always hear are, "I want to be led by someone who is genuine, who shows they can make mistakes, who apologizes, who is willing to be vulnerable, who is curious, who's coached-like, who's invested in me, who provides good direction." Like so many of the things that all of us share, when we think about going to work in an organization and the kind of person we'd like to be led by, we don't think, "Gosh, I want to be led by someone who's always right, who never shows any kind of doubt, who has supreme confidence in everything they do, who always has the answer to every question" like, we'd be ridiculous, right? None of us want to be led by someone... Some of us have been led by people like that and it was not a good experience. And yet, when we get into a role of management, many of us, me included, feel like, "I need to be supremely confident. I need to have all the answers." The thing that we all sort of don't want other people to do to us, we feel like when we get into a role where we have some authority or position, that all of a sudden we need to become that person. And knowing that human tendency in all of us, my invitation to myself and everyone else is, like just to embrace a little bit of the humanity and come back to some questions like, "How are you? How are you doing today?" In one on ones. And "What's a high you've had this week? And what's a struggle that you're having right now?" And that when someone says something that they're struggling with to just say, "Thank you for telling me", and maybe not even have any advice, but just to say, I really want to listen, and I want to know what's going on with you, and what you're dealing with, and what you're struggling with. Because if we send that kind of message consistently, I think one, we show up as the kind of leader most of us want to be led by. But also, we open a door that says to people, "This is a safe place". Or at least a place that's a little safer than maybe some of the other management conversations that I've had over the years with managers, that this is someone who is saying and showing that they really do want to hear when things aren't working. Because I think when you open that door, then you're more likely to hear about too much workload. I think you're more likely to hear about a values mismatch, or recognition not happening or someone feeling like things aren't fair. Not that you're always going to be able to do something about that, but you at least know what's happening. And going back to the canary in the coal mine, if you know that there's trouble, then you can do something about it potentially. But opening that door is really key.

Cindy Gonos 15:05

What do you think it is? Because I know exactly what you're talking about, I did the exact same thing. And I think I got to a point in my career where I told myself, "I want to be the leader that I wanted to have." Right? So when I'm leading my teams, I want to be that leader. But there has to be a mindset shift there for me. For you, Dave, how did that mindset shift come about for you?

Dave Stachowiak 15:32

Oh, lots of mistakes, and trial and error, and not giving people feedback. And I had a management role early on, where we had a, it was a nine month management position I had in college, it was my first time managing people and talk about getting thrown to the wolves, Cindy. I went from never having managed anyone in my life to managing 35 people all at once. It was a huge, like, jump. And the school ,quite wonderfully, and the person that ran this organization had a process that at the end of the nine month assignment, you would go through what you and I would call a 360. But it was essentially just a, you know, a simplified version of getting feedback from everyone that you had worked with. And I remember sitting with my manager and walking through the feedback. And there were a lot of nice things that people said. And she said, and there was also several comments that were like "Dave needs to get a backbone, and needs to, like, actually give people feedback and talk about, like, expectations and what's not working." And it was really... In retrospect, it was super helpful. But it was super hard to hear at the time. Because I thought, "Wow, here, I thought I had done a really good job, and overall I had, but there were all these things that I hadn't really," in my mind, I was sort of like, "I'm not too good at this." And I'm like, "Well, maybe no one's noticing". Well everyone was noticing, of course. And so part of this is just jumping in and starting and being willing to do things. But then it's also asking and asking for feedback and asking how to get better. I was lucky enough that someone was there that had created a system where that feedback was going to happen regardless of what I did. But I think the more proactive thing to do, and I try to do this more now is actually to ask, and to ask questions like, "Hey, I am working on this thing, whatever this thing is, and I'm trying to get better at it. What's something that I could do in our next interaction that would help me to show up in a better way?" And really inviting feedback of like, one of my favorite questions comes from Sheila Heen, who's one of the co-authors of the original book, Difficult Conversations. And she has this beautiful question that is, "What's something you see me doing or failing to do that's getting in the way of me doing better?" And I'm not quoting it perfectly. But what a great question to ask regularly of people to start to surface where those blind spots are, so you can do better.

Cindy Gonos 18:23

I think that's amazing. It made me think of, and I'm sure you probably know this, and Scott and I actually did an episode where we talked a lot about leadership and how we approach leadership at HTYC. And when we do our in persons, when we all come together as a team, we do something again, in the outside world, we may call them 360s, we call them "docksides." And their intent is to talk about goals, to talk about what each of us wants to get out of our role. But one question that is always, always on the dark side is, as a leader, the question is asked, it used to be Scott, now I'm the integrator so this question goes to me. But the question is, "What do I do that impedes the team?" And I remember my first stock side, and I had been with Happen To Your Career, maybe three months or so. And I got my dockside form. And I looked at it and I was thinking, "Am I really supposed to answer this question about what Scott does to hinder the team?" And I did it and I was honest. And Scott was open and receptive to it. And when it came full circle, and it came time for me to do docksides with our team. And I had to have the team answer the question, "What am I doing that impedes the team?" It was so valuable for me to hear from my team what I was or was not doing to help the team and it's hard to hear it. It's absolutely hard to hear but so valuable. And if you create that environment where everyone feels comfortable doing that, it makes everything easier on a team. Everyone on our team knows to be real. If you need to talk with someone and have a hard conversation, you need to rumble, like Brene says, then that's what we're going to do. And it makes everyone work better. And it reduces the burnout for everyone on the team, because a leader may get burned out by doing too much. But when that trickles down to the team, that burnout looks different for them. Because it's almost worse because they're second hand exhausted, if you will.

Dave Stachowiak 20:30

Yeah. Great. And I'd love to highlight some things you just said there, because I think it's really key. That number one, there's a system, right? So in your case, like the organization, the top person says, "This is really important. And we're going to do this." And there's a system for asking this question. And secondly, when the questions actually asked and answered, the person who has power responds in a way that's really proactive, and shows that they care, and that they're listening, right? And then third, do something with it. Because you can do the first two well, but if you don't ultimately do anything with it, or make any changes, then it kind of doesn't matter. In fact, sometimes it's worse if you don't do anything at all, right? But in this case, like actually doing something with it. And those three things are key, like asking the question, "how you respond as a leader, like, are you listening?" And my friend Tom Henschel, who hosts the Look & Sound of Leadership podcast says, "When you're asking for feedback, all you get to do is to say, "thank you." "Or, if you're not sure, like, if the feedback doesn't make sense to you, you can ask a clarifying question. But once you're clear what they're saying, then you just say thank you." And you decide later what you can or can't do, or what you're able to shift or not shift. But like being able to respond and listen in a present way is so key to them.

Cindy Gonos 21:57

Absolutely. And I know when I was younger, and I got my first opportunity in leadership at 23 years old. And I had a team of 10. And every person who was on my team, I'm pretty sure was twice my age.

Dave Stachowiak 22:14


Cindy Gonos 22:15

So when I got feedback at a young age, and especially being in a sales like environment, it was hard. And I would get a chip on my shoulder about it, and almost refuse to grow in that way. And it did not take me very long, until one of the team members came to me and said, "Cindy, I think you have a lot of really, really great potential. And I want to see you grow. And this is why I'm giving you this feedback." And that made such a big difference to me instead of hearing, "I don't like that you do this, I don't like that you do that." It felt good to me. So I would say too, for folks who have leaders, and they can see that there's this barrier or that they need to have a difficult conversation, when you come from a place of non-judgment and you say "I'm here to help", that's going to tear down that wall with your leader and your relationship is going to grow and everyone is going to be able to work more effectively.

Dave Stachowiak 23:07

When I was a Dale Carnegie instructor, I used to hear from our more senior instructors the message, "Why before what." Before you ask someone to do something, tell them why you're doing it. And I hear that in what you just said Cindy is, yes of course, give feedback, do all those things. And before you do that, say the "why", "Here's why I'm, as a leader, giving you this feedback. Here's why, as an organization, we have the system, here's the purpose behind us doing this." And that frames, it doesn't make the message easy to hear but it frames the message in a way that then you're more willing to do something with it, much like your colleague who said, "I'm doing this because I believe in you. And I want you to grow." the "why" right? And here's the message that you need to hear, the "what." Doing that is so helpful for people.

Cindy Gonos 24:03

I agree with that completely. I know for me, Dave, one of the biggest areas where I have felt burnout is that lack of control and that lack of autonomy in roles that I've had. What are some things that leaders can do when they don't have that control? When they don't have that autonomy? I guess, A, how do they ask for it? And B, if they ask and they are not able to get that, what do they do?

Dave Stachowiak 24:32

Yeah, that's a big question. I think that it comes back to something that we said earlier on the values part, right? There's always going to be a sense of mismatch in some way, hopefully not a big one, but there's almost never does one person's idea of autonomy line up with someone else's. And I think this comes back to having conversation. And I think one of the things that both leaders and employees struggle with is what tends to be called "micromanagement," right? I'm either too present as a manager or my manager is too present on things, or the opposite too absent. And I've heard that story as much as micromanagement over the years of someone who's not really present and not focused on work. One thing that I have seen work if we're looking at this first, there's two different lenses to think of this first, one is, if I'm the person who's in a role, and my manager is not providing me with as much autonomy as I'd like, I think that's one situation, right? And then there's the other situation from the other lens of, if I'm the person leading, like, how do I provide autonomy for others? So maybe we could look at both. If I think about the first situation, usually the conversation starts something like this, "I've gotten into this new role. I'm 60 days in, 90 days in", whatever it is, "and things are mostly going well, but I find that I'm working for a micromanager and they are in my face about everything. And they're checking in constantly. And I don't feel like I have any autonomy. And they don't seem to trust me on anything. What do I do? Where do I start?" And one thing that I have seen work a lot, not every time, but a lot, is to help that person, whoever that senior person is that feels like they need to jump in on everything, to help them feel like they have more visibility, and they have a little bit more understanding of what's happening. And one thing that has worked for a lot of people over the years is to start to be a little bit more proactive on that. And it's interesting, because like sometimes our tendency, when someone is coming in and micromanaging us and not providing us a lot of autonomy is to back off, right, and to like not tell them anything. And I think in a lot of cases, that actually makes the situation worse, because then that person is getting less information. And I think it's actually helpful to do the opposite, at least for a short period of time. And there's lots of ways this can look. But one example is, "Hey, once a week, I'm going to sit down. And I'm going to write out a very thoughtful, concise message about what me and my team have been doing this week." And I'm going to highlight two or three things that I know are important to this more senior person that they're asking about a lot. And I'm going to proactively talk about the steps we're taking, what we're working on, where we're running into struggles, and I'm going to either share that in a one on one, or I'm going to email that person or whatever way that they like to get information. And I'm gonna start doing that. And it is. It's so interesting, Cindy, like how many times we've had people try that with someone who's swooping in a lot, and they do that for a few weeks. And all of a sudden, that person starts to back off, in some cases, quite substantially. And it's funny, because even a couple of times we've had, like the more senior person come back and say something like, "You know, I'm feeling, like, much better about the work you're doing all of a sudden." It's like, well, yeah, because they've changed, like, the person who's reporting to them has changed their behavior of just how they're being proactive. And I gotta tell you, it's really hard to do it, like, "Really? Do I need to do that?" But yeah, for whatever reason, that person just doesn't feel like they have all the information. And that level of proactiveness can really help with that situation. So for anyone who's in that situation, if you haven't tried that, that's certainly a starting point, just to be proactive in the short to medium term, to start to change that dynamic just a little bit.

Cindy Gonos 28:57

I love that. I think that's a brilliant idea. And I think that it shows initiative, and I think it does ease the mind of the leader a little bit. Because I firmly believe, I wholeheartedly believe, that most managers who micromanage do not do it because they want to micromanage. There's some fear, right, there's some sort of underlying fear that they have from somewhere else that tells them, "I need to keep checking in." So if a team member is proactive, they're alleviating stress from themselves by not having the manager have to check in and they're also alleviating some of those fears of the manager at the same time. So I think that's kind of the blend where, because I could see me perhaps out it might be seen as almost snarky or sarcastic. "Oh, you're gonna micromanage me? Well, let me just tell you everything that I'm doing." Right? I don't think it's that way. I don't think it's a , "I'm going to shove you everything." I think it's a very, you said they're proactive, but it's almost like a relief. It turns it more into a relationship, than "You're my leader, and I'm reporting to you", or "I'm your leader. And I'm checking in on you." It's a, "I'm checking in on you to help. And I'm letting you know what I'm doing to also help you and be proactive."

Dave Stachowiak 30:17

Yes. And that's a really good distinction. And I'm so glad you made it of… don't be the, I mean, people do this in the legal profession. I'm not sure this works so well anymore in the digital age. But one of the legal tactics that lawyers would do, like if one side is asking for documents, they'd send them 40,000 documents and like you got to find the needle in the haystack to like spend tons of time, don't be that person, right? Like, that's not the intention here. The intention is, you and I are both fans of Dale Carnegie's book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. And one of the key messages in that book is to try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view. And so if we put on that hat and think, "Hmm, okay, this person, for whatever reason, good or bad values, alignment or not, is swooping in and asking me for a lot of stuff and getting into a lot of things. For whatever reason, I seem to need more information. What can I genuinely do to set aside my own personal annoyance with this behavior for a moment and think about what are like the three or four or five key things that I know they're worried about, that I know is on their radar screen right now, that I know maybe they're swamped and overwhelmed with that if I provide a little bit of visibility, and that I can help will be a starting point for that?" And that's the intention here, is like, how do I help this other person do their job better? And to think about them like my customer even if they may be my manager, "How do I serve that person well and give them what they need in order to be able to do the job in the way that they want to?"

Cindy Gonos 31:55

I loved that, initially, when I thought about doing this episode with you, Dave. It was, how do leaders help themselves from preventing burnout? And really, it sounds like the answer is, how do teams work together to help prevent burnout for everyone?

Dave Stachowiak 32:12

Yeah. I think so. If we can, why not? Right? Like, for whatever reason, as I mentioned earlier, like, we think about burnout is a problem with a person. And yes, it is. And it can be "AND", and there's a big “and” here, it also is often something that's going on in the organization or dynamics that aren't working. And so, yeah, let's talk about those and let's surface them. And if we can do that, and have some healthy conversation, I think that helps us to address things a little bit more proactively before it comes to a point where someone feels completely burned out and they're taking a leave of absence or they're leaving the organization or they're struggling with mental health. If we can proactively get there sooner, what a great win for them and for us and for the organization too.

Cindy Gonos 33:05

Absolutely. Dave, we are almost out of time. But I want to end with a question, because I have been waiting for eight years to ask you this question. Are you ready? Okay. So in your time, as both a leader and a coach to leaders, what's something you've changed your mind about?

Dave Stachowiak 33:24

Ah, this question is a question I ask people often on my podcast, "What have you changed your mind about?" So many things over these years and regularly, I'm changing my mind on one thing that I certainly have changed my mind on in the context of starting the podcast in 2011 when I did to now is, it was both a blessing and a curse that I only had an hour or two when the podcast started to produce it each week. Because I had a full time job, I was working for Dale Carnegie, we were just about to have a baby, wife was really busy and blessedly full. And I didn't have 20 or 30 hours a week to do a podcast. And in fact, the podcast, Coaching For Leaders, started as a hobby and a side project. And that was the intention. That's what it was supposed to be. And it was for the first several years. And so when you only have an hour or two a week to work on something, you figure out pretty quickly, it can't be perfect. I'm going to make mistakes. And sometimes I'm going to do something that is going to be B-minus work. And that's good enough. And that is and was and still is sometimes really hard for me, because I'm the kind of person, I don't know if it was like just my upbringing are lots of too many years of school or whatever personality like, I like to do A-plus work like anytime someone sees something from me, or I turned in a paper when I was a kid or in college like I want that grade to come back really great. And if it's an A-minus it's like, it's not good enough, right? And one thing I've definitely changed my mind on is, not only can I not physically do that, like the physics of running a business, and doing all the things in life don't allow you to have A-plus work on everything all the time. But that actually, it's better to start, and to put something out in the world, and to get feedback, and to learn as you go, and then keep going. And I think it's a great analogy for starting a business. It's a great analogy, certainly for running a podcast. It's a great analogy for leadership, too. Because none of us do any of this perfectly. None of us delegate perfectly. None of us uncover burnout in our organizations all of the time and always see that coming. The invitation for myself and for everyone else is, let's start. Start moving the needle a little bit. Begin, put something out in the world, try something new, change your behavior on something and then see what happens. And sometimes it means you move a little bit further in where you're going. And sometimes it means you fail, and you move backwards, and you get slapped on the wrist a bit because something doesn't work with a stakeholder or a customer. And the times that that's happened to me, Cindy, as uncomfortable as those steps back have been, have so many times been the biggest learning moments that have actually then helped me to leapfrog on something else. And so the thing I've changed my mind on is not having to have everything figured out at the start and to try to nail it the first time. But to actually just start and to have conversation and to get feedback. And by doing that, I have then been able to, in the long run, do better.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:02

If you've been thinking about making a change for a while now, and you don't really know how to best take the first step or get started, here's what I would suggest, just open your email app on your phone right now. And I'm going to give you my personal email address, scott@happentoyourcareer.com. Just email me and put "Conversation" in the subject line. Tell me a little bit about your situation, and I'll connect you with the right person on our team where we can figure out the very best way that we can help you. Scott@happentoyourcareer.com drop me an email.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:32

Here's a sneak peek into what we have coming up in store for you next week.

Speaker 4 37:39

Because I was struggling with my health, I decided to leave my last role without anything lined up. So by far, as a father and a dad, it was hard to walk out of a job without anything like that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:51

People make career changes all the time. That's a normal thing. Unfortunately, many of those career changes are not great moves. In reality, what we find when we meet up with so many people after they've made a career change is that they're just running from a portion of their past job, whether it's a bad boss, a toxic environment, trying to raise their salary, trying to lower the amount of stress and responsibility. When instead, they should be figuring out what they really actually want and then run towards that. So what happens if you've had that situation? What happens if you have made a career change only to realize that your previous career actually fit you much better? Technology and culture can advance or it can change quickly? How do you pivot back to your previous career path after some time has passed and make it even better?

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:49

All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically, even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week. Adios. I'm out.

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