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Three things executives can do to get ahead of leader burnout amidst Covid-19

    There’s no indication that the demands coronavirus is placing on health care leaders will let up anytime soon—in fact, we predict the pressures on the health care system will only continue to increase for some time. Before the demands on leaders reach all-time highs, executives should create a plan to alleviate unnecessary burdens on leader’s time.

    Free up leaders’ capacity with a “stop doing” list.

    Write down a list of strategic objectives that the executive team is asking leaders to execute. Be ruthless when deciding which ones can be put on a “stop doing” list for the time being.

    Key questions to ask are:

    • What initiatives have we asked leaders to pursue that are no longer mission critical?
    • What tasks might be bogging leaders down that we can delegate to administrative staff with excess capacity?

    Collate and share the “stop doing” list with leaders, specifying which tasks will be allocated to other staff versus which ones will be paused indefinitely. Instruct leaders to wait until further notice to resume paused strategic initiatives.

    Slay "zombie projects" to make space for Covid-19 efforts

    Dial up positive reinforcement through storytelling.

    Health care executives must go beyond saying “thank you” to acknowledge and recognize the effort and self-sacrifice of their employees. Storytelling can be an especially effective way to recognize and motivate leaders and their teams. Implementing an organization-wide initiative to collect and share stories of staff rising to the challenge can uplift staff and reconnect them with their shared purpose.

    Give staff and leaders a channel to submit these stories either through a dedicated inbox or even sending directly an appointed executive.

    To make it easier for leaders to provide recognition you can use our Customizable recognition cards.

    For more on effective communication amidst Covid-19 see our archived webinar.

    Reinforce support for emotional health and well-being of leaders.

    Executives need to double down on the emotional support mechanisms available to leaders so that their resilience is sustained through a time of unparalleled uncertainty.

    To support emotional well-being of leaders, you can:

    • Take inventory of the emotional support currently available to staff—compile a list indicating how leaders can access these resources (i.e. EAP, on-demand counselors)
    • Provide a forum for leaders to connect and share stories, with a virtual option—if possible, provide free food or coffee and tea
    • Ask social workers or hospital volunteers, who may have additional capacity, to be available to check-in with leaders and potentially help address work and home sources of stress.

    Find more about addressing the needs of staff: 3 ways to meet the essential needs of your frontline staff during Covid-19

    How are you preventing leader burnout? Share your stories with us.

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