It’s interesting that in the nearly 20 years I’ve been consulting with stores around the country, I still encounter managers who have lost their vision and motivation. They feel burdened with the weight of all their obligations, and burnout has become a regular part of their daily work life.
One of the most common areas managers neglect on the road to burnout is their own basic needs. Skipping lunch, or eating at their desk while checking emails or placing orders, is common.
Personal time off is another area that takes a hit. Managers feel obligated to be at work because things aren't going as well as they should. They often sacrifice their personal life for the needs of the store.
Sacrifice comes with the territory and some situations call for it, e.g. covering when employees call in sick, quit without notice or must be terminated. But this should be the exception, not the rule.
Allowing time for family and hobbies will keep you healthier, happier and mentally prepared to do the job. Schedule two days off in a row every week. If you need to take separate days off, take them. It will make a world of difference! And get away from the store during your lunch break. (Yes, it's important that you take one!).
Doing these things will give you a fresh perspective and set a good example for the rest of your crew. Quite often we fail to recognize that we actually encourage burnout in others with our behavior. Good employees are a valuable resource and shouldn't be depleted.
Reflect back to what motivated you in the first place. If you had a dream to create something different or better, then invest the time to replenish your desires. Visit a farm, go to a sustainable agriculture conference, and invest in that book, film, or music that will inspire you. Call up a professional pal to vent. Seek counsel from someone outside your store with a different perspective.
Take a good look at your store or department and find the areas that need work, make a list, and set a course for change. Most often it's the lack of systems that stop the progress, including consistent scheduling, job descriptions and accountability for the work. If systems are in place -- for daily routines, proper training, clear lines of communication and understanding of finances -- you will have more time to create and blossom. Frustration will be at a minimum, and your store or department will become a place where employees enjoy working.
Another piece to your revitalization process is creating a shared vision. I often hear from managers that the crew doesn't get it! Ask yourself if you have taken the time to communicate your dream for the store or department. Are you clear about what it is yourself? Write down your past, present, and future vision. Think about the part you play in achieving it. Ask the crew how you can reach goals together. If your crew feels they have a direct effect on those goals, they will be more willing to embrace it.
If we are going be as sustainable as the foods we sell, let's make our own sustainability a priority too! This way we can make sure we are like a star that offers light after it is gone: the light of a creative and passionately lived career.