Since the 2007 GFC people have been required to ‘do more, with less’ and were told to ‘work smarter, not harder’, and this is something that’s translated into our work ethics almost a decade on. Telling your team to operate this way is like giving the keys of a Ferrari to a 15-year-old and saying, ‘drive safely’.

Managing energy

The next evolution of leadership now requires you to be the high-performance coach for your team. The greater demands put on people requires leaders to not just coach their teams for performance, but to realise that sustained high performance requires people to get their perceived effort levels down. Just like elite athletes manage their energy, the corporate athletes also need to know how to manage theirs.

On top of this, technology is making it increasingly hard for people to switch off. Technology was designed to help us and make our lives easier. Unfortunately, people have become slaves to technology and are finding it difficult to manage their productivity and their energy levels. This is exacerbated by the fact that no one has taught them how to manage their energy in the first place.

Burnout at all-time high

These days we have the benefits of more flexible working conditions, but haven’t been equipped with the tools on how to successfully use this to our advantage.

Even though we are supposed to be more flexible, burnout is reaching an all-time high. Chances are, teams need more help in how to work this way for maximum efficiency and productivity.

Leaders, who think that people chained to their desks and burning the midnight oil are efficient, need to update their old-school leadership beliefs. It’s almost negligent for leaders to not teach staff to manage excess stress, as well as help people to avoid burnout. Conditions and workplaces have evolved, and leaders have more responsibilities and capabilities than they did 10 years ago.

4 do’s to create ongoing high performance

1. Know how the brain functions and how to optimise performance

People need to be taught how to recognise productive stress that doesn’t harm their health vs that which could lead to health issues. People need to be educated on nutrition and how it affects the brain for optimal performance. Leaders need to encourage more incidental movement and allow time for exercise as this also helps the brain to function better

2. Teach people how to manage their energy, not their time

Everyone has 24 hours in a day, but we all have different times where we feel the most energised and productive. Teach your staff to work at those times and embrace when they’re feeling their best.

3. Help people to realise that busy doesn’t necessarily mean productive

Just because someone is always busy doing something, doesn’t mean they’re achieving high performance. They could be focusing their energy on areas that aren’t necessary, which could ultimately result in burnout

4. Notice your team’s sick-leave levels

Encourage staff to take sick leave as an energy-management tool before any sickness occurs.