Experiencing Burnout? A personal story by Nathan Helder – How to Lead your Team when they (and you) are Exhausted

Are you experiencing burnout?  Are you Fatigued?
~How to lead your team when they are exhausted~


  • 26% of Canadians find it difficult to cope (33% for US) – Widespread Impact on Mental Health
  • Mid-Level Managers ranked highest for stress (5835 surveyed responses)
  • +80% of 1265 US workers surveyed in June 2020 – experienced negative emotions
  • 65% of respondents reported that mental health issues impacted their work, 40% being close to burnout

1.  When staff are fatigued and stressed this Contributes to:

  • Doing nothing
  • Decision dodging
  • Overlooking small and vital details
  • Inability to prioritize
  • Resistance to change
  • Crankiness directed to colleagues
  • Excessive and avoidable mistakes
  • Inattentiveness to client needs

2.  Causes of Elevated Stress for Managers:

  • Expectations put on by company, clients, self
  • External Factors – Covid related issues & family
  • Challenging Climate – Wet Weather for 2021
  • Labour Shortages in every industry

How to lead when the whole world is tired?

  1. With Stamina – rests on deep seated emotional patterns shaped by experiences and individual needs
  2. With Resilience – we must use a different approach then what was used in the past

Building resilience for challenging times - The Well : The Well

A.  Evaluate the Urgency vs Importance

  • Everything cannot be URGENT & IMPORTANT
  • Create a short task list including the must/should “do”, not could “do”
  • Identify biggest challenges over the next 3 months
  • Need to act – move forward, get excited about making things better

B.  Balancing caring & containment

  • We need to show care! At this point in the Pandemic, many people are depressed, tired, lonely, anxious caused by working in isolation, heavy workloads, rapidly shifting priorities.
  • What is “Containment”?  It is the ability to observe & absorb what is going on around you, but to provide a sense of stability.  Stability comes from:
    • Setting limits
    • Raising the bar
    • Keeping the pressure at the optimal level
    • Helping each other snap out of self pity and moodiness

C.  Energize Everyone, Every Day

  • Share success stories – enjoy the small wins
  • Spend time with staff: BBQs, Cookouts, events
  • Focus on Less meetings, less policies

3.  With Recovery – the secret to sustaining great performance over time is pairing periods of stress with times of recovery.  Recovery is any activity that lowers the heart rate and dissipates stress hormones.

  • Sleep – most important component of recovery (8 hrs is best)
  • Take a real lunch break (not at your desk)
  • Need to lean on & connect with each other!
  • Celebrate the small wins!
  • Take your holidays!

4.  With Faith – I recently started reading “Reset – Living a grace-paced life in a burnout culture” by  David Murray.  The introduction will challenge the reader to think differently about your motivation in life and who is in control.  Murray shares in his book that “God has designed us differently and knows which warning lights will best get our attention.  Will we see the warning lights or ignore them?”


DON’T be like me:

On October 23, 2020, I was out with my 2 children at a BMX bike park.  I felt that I was in total control of my life and invincible.   My schedule was jam packed, I was crazy busy dealing with COVID related issues and had no time for faith and family.   In a split second of poor judgement, I attempted a jump that I had no business taking.  This split second left me with a fractured C7 vertebrae, 3 cracked ribs, broken collarbone, punctured lung, dislocated fingers, and muscle damage. God had a different plan for me – He stopped my life in a second.  It was a reality check!

It is my prayer that you take time to “Reset” and not end up with “a neck brace on”.

Nathan Helder

IF you are feeling stressed and fatigued and can’t see your way out, contact me directly at Southbrook Consulting.