Why High Performers Need Resilience Training TooPosted on March 21, 2021
Written by Sally Clarke, burnout expert & writer
Why High Performers Need Resilience Training Too
Andrew was a superstar at the international consultancy firm he worked out after graduation – from the moment he was hired, he shone bright.
“Andrew was dedicated from the get-go – he learned fast and quickly became an essential member of our team,” former manager Susan recalls. “He was capable of leading on some of our most complex matters and worked incessantly. And everyone loved working with him because he always got it done.”
Until last September when, about five years into his career, Andrew hit a wall. Within the space of a few months his productivity went into freefall and he was almost constantly sick with the flu. “I’m pretty sure he was burnt out, but he never let on. A couple of months later, Andrew quit.”
Andrew was a ‘high performer’. Looking around your organization, you can probably recognize the high performers – you might even be one yourself.
High performers are the people who always seem capable of taking on more, who lead complex projects and manage teams with apparent ease, who work harder and longer when deadlines are looming.
As Andrew experienced, they are also extremely vulnerable to burnout.
Why High Performance ≠ Resilience
It’s easy to think that high performers are incredibly resilient – that’s how they get so much done, right? And yet, it’s not their great coping skills that makes many high performers shine so bright.
Research shows that high performers are often driven by:
A high sense of responsibility towards the company and clients;
Perfectionism, or a fear of failure;
A willingness to repeatedly cross their own boundaries, ignore signals and physical symptoms from their body and sacrifice their own mental health.
Unfortunately, most leaders inadvertently make the situation worse by giving high performers the most challenging projects, shorter breaks between projects, as well as expecting them to support less capable employees and pick up their slack. When leaders pile the high performer’s desk (and pack their inbox) with more and more work, this inevitably increases the chronic stress that causes burnout.
How to Increase Resilience in High Performers
At Woosh5, our experience is that high performers are looking for support and balance just as much as – if not more than – their lower performing colleagues. Our data reflects that in many organizations, it’s the high performers who are reaching for and interacting with the array of tools and support our program offers.
So, if you’re looking to make sure your high performers keep performing in a sustainable way for the long-term benefit of the company, the team and the individual, we recommend the following:
Closely monitor the workload of your high performers to make sure they’re not overburdened;
Don’t wait for high performers to tell you they’re doing too much or they’re feeling stressed – they may not even realize it themselves!
Keep a close eye on their mental health – the tracking tools in our program are an accurate, straightforward and transparent way of doing this;
Offer support in the form of resilience training, coaching and ongoing education around balance, boundaries and the importance of rest and recovery.
Preventing burnout cuts costs – for everyone
No two high-performers are the same – every individual has their own motivations, beliefs and goals. That’s why having high performers work one-on-one with a coach is an incredibly effective measure to help build the tools and techniques high performers require.
It also avoids the huge costs to the company, the team and the individual that ensue when high performers follow Andrew on the path to burnout.
Are you interested in strengthening the resilience of your team. Click here to learn more about our program.