3 Questions To Ask Yourself When You Have An Overwhelmed Employee

3 Questions To Ask Yourself When You Have An Overwhelmed Employee

So you thought you were hiring someone with the grit and confidence to tackle it all head on, but now the hire that seemed so promising is caving under the stress. Here are three questions to ask yourself so you know what changes you need to make to prevent a repeat:

#1 Do you know the personality types of each person you hire?

You may not give much weight to personality assessments and tests, but they’re oftentimes spot on and can provide some value to you as the leader in your business. The DiSC behavior assessment tool is a very popular option and it essentially breaks people down into four personality types using a number system. With the DiSC assessment, you’re left with a snapshot that shows where your employees score high and where they score low, which can help you identify what they like and don’t like in regards to, not just the tasks they’re performing, but the environment in which they’re performing those tasks, and the way they’re being told to carry those tasks out.

The four personality styles that make up the DiSC assessment are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. Why would knowing which traits are highest in your employees help you prevent overwhelm and burnout? Because when you know which personality types you’re leading, you’ll know how to adapt your management and communication style to better fit each employee. You’ll be able to craft your interactions to each individual in a way that speaks to and supports their needs and preferences.

For example, an employee with a high C score likes to have all of the details before getting started and has a fear of being wrong. Knowing this, you could ask that employee if they have all the details they need or if there’s anything else they need from you before they can confidently move forward with the job or project they’re working on. Someone with a high D, on the other hand, may become bored by all the details and just want to jump right in. How you present a job to each would and should differ so you can be a more effective leader of each individual.

#2 What expectations have you created?

No one wants to screw up, but for some personality types (like high C’s, for example), the fear of failure can be paralyzing and prevent them from taking any steps or actions. On top of considering the innate traits and levels of pressure that are self-induced by each personality type, you need to consider the type and level of pressure that you’re consciously and subconsciously placing on your employees.

Ask yourself what your attitude towards failure is and what you’ve expressed to your team regarding failure. Have you presented failure as something that’s undesirable at all costs and apocalyptic in nature or as something you can learn from? Failure often leads to innovation and improvement and teaches us more than our successes. But no one wants to be the one to fail or take risks that could lead to failure if management portrays failure as something to be avoided if you want to keep your job.

Yes, put systems in place to prevent mishaps, but don’t make mistakes the unforgivable sin in your business. How you approach failure will largely determine how your employees do, and without that big lurking F hanging over their heads, they’ll be freed up to focus on the task at hand.

#3 Do you encourage open communication?

When an employee is overwhelmed, you have to consider whether or not it could have been avoided if you had a culture in place that encouraged open and honest communication and mutual support. If your employees can come to you when they first start to feel overwhelmed, the escalation that leads to breakdown and burnout can likely be avoided and you can get your employees the support they need to do the job with confidence.

Is transparency a word or a practice in your business? Do you encourage teamwork and support? Can your employees come to you or another person in management when they’re feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, or in need of more support? Even if it’s not you, make sure your employees have someone they can go to to talk it out and get the support they need.

Better leadership is within your control

Look, HR stuff can be frustrating and time-consuming, but knowing your employees and creating a culture that encourages transparency can help you better lead your team, provide a better work environment, get more value and productivity from every employee you manage, and prevent burnout, overwhelm, and other common workplace problems. Take the time to understand your employees and adapt your leadership style and culture, and you’ll find it saves you a lot of time and a lot of frustration in the end, which is what we all want, isn’t it?

What Makes A Great Leader?

What Makes A Great Leader?

It seems like everywhere you look, someone is claiming to know the “secret recipe” for a great leader. These articles always capture our attention because we all want to be better leaders, but which leadership traits are actually backed by data?

Russell Reynolds Associates and Hogan Assessment Systems studied more than 200 CEOs and published data revealing three successful leadership indicators. So what are they? Let’s dive in!

They’re filled with purpose, passion & urgency. Great leaders have a real sense of purpose and know where they’re headed. They’re passionate about achieving that purpose, and excitedly take steps to move them closer to their goals. This passion and purpose also instills a sense of urgency and drives them to constantly work to move the company forward. These aren’t the leaders who are likely to deliberate or take a long time making a decision, but they’re not impulsive either. Instead, they embrace change and move forward, taking calculated risks.

They’re good at identifying what’s important. Leaders are always bombarded with information from everyone in the company. But great leaders can sort through that information swiftly and identify the important things that are likely to affect the business and the business’s decisions. With their great sense of purpose, passion, and urgency, great leaders quickly separate the important from the unimportant and use that information to make decisions they can be proud of and that can propel their companies forward.

They’re humble life-learners who work well with others. 

Many of us hold the notion that great leaders are prideful people who think they know everything and are difficult to work with. But according to this data, truly great leaders are the complete opposite of this iconic leader. Great leaders are never finished learning, and they’re always seeking opportunities to add to and expand their knowledge. These leaders are likely found listening to podcasts and reading in their spare time, and chances are, they’re hiring people they deem smarter than themselves. Why? They know that surrounding themselves with smart people isn’t a threat to their own intelligence — it presents an opportunity for them to learn from others and get smarter. These leaders may be great at making decisions on their own, but they know that two heads are better than one, which is why they’re also likely to seek input from advisors, employees, and colleagues. They want what’s best for the company, regardless of where the best ideas come from.


So, how did you fare? Do you have these traits and qualities? The good news is, great leaders are made, not born, so if you lack any of these qualities, your fate isn’t written in stone. You can always work on cultivating these qualities, traits, and ways of thinking in yourself.