This is a guest post by Naphtali Hoff, President, Impactful Coaching & Consulting.
If you are a leader who is expected to do more with less, you aren’t alone. In fact, throughout the world and in every industry, today’s leaders feel mounting pressure to achieve more with less.
No longer can they simply bring on staff as needed to get the job done. Higher-ups have told them that there is no room in the budget and they’ll have to find another way. So, these leaders do what they can.
- They work longer hours and ask the same of their people, even when they know how much it’s resented.
- They neglect their health and well-being and try to get by through any means possible.
- They give their people tasks that they’re not properly trained to do because there’s no one else to do it.
- They know that what they’re doing is unsustainable, but they can’t see a way out.
Even as they try their hardest, service quality diminishes, stress levels. absences and conflict increase, morale plummets, and ultimately, people quit. Leaders, especially new and first-time leaders, burn out fast.
You can improve your situation – often significantly – if you avoid these mistakes that I have seen repeated again and again.
Accepting the outcome as inevitable
The first and perhaps largest mistake understaffed leaders make is that they come to accept their “fate.” That they and their people are simply going to struggle. They don’t see a way around their problem and assume that their “new normal” won’t end very well.
While no one will suggest that being understaffed is an ideal situation, the fact that they resign themselves to a negative outcome makes it much harder for them to step up and overcome their challenges.
They burn their candle at both ends
Many leaders often feel that they must make up for the staff shortage by working longer and harder while asking their people to do the same. This is simply unsustainable. Added work may be a reasonable ask on occasion, but it can’t be the long-term answer.
They fail to maximize existing potential
Often, leaders don’t recognize what they have already on staff in terms of team member capacity. Leaders tend to think of certain workers as being limited to only doing what they’ve always done and don’t feel that they can get any more out of them. Certainly, they wouldn’t be able tor give them significantly different, even more challenging work.
Truth is, the solution to a staffing problem is often right in front of us, if we’re willing to take a closer look and reexamine our preconceptions.
They underestimate their leadership impact
Leadership is a very powerful force that drives people forward and creates harmony of purpose. Too often, leaders under-appreciate their impact and fail to see how their thinking and behavior can improve things. Yet, we all know of great leaders who have inspired their teams through a wide host of challenges. Great leadership can make up for many shortcomings.
So what should you do? Make E.P.I.C. changes:
- Expect. Set clear targets so that everyone is focused and engaged.
- Pull together. Pull your team together and connect them deeply to the mission.
- Influence. Influence and lead those around you.
- Communicate. Communicate clearly and openly.
Expect + Pull together + Influence + Communicate = E.P.I.C. results.
If you want more advice on how to achieve E.P.I.C. results, download my new e-book for free now. It’s an easy read that is full of action-oriented tips that will help you overcome the challenge of being understaffed so you can go on to achieve E.P.I.C. results!
Naphtali Hoff, PsyD, is an accomplished executive coach, organizational consultant, and sought after trainer and lecturer. He completed his doctorate in human and organizational psychology, which analyzes successful individual or organizational change and development, and holds two master’s degrees in education and educational leadership, respectively. Naphtali’s practical, action-oriented approach has endeared him to his many clients. His personal experience in the leadership field allows him to understand leaders’ needs and craft solutions to help them optimize their performance and success.