If you are the leader of a non-profit, then you may discover that you feel like quitting on some days even though you are deeply committed to the organization’s goals. While burnout occurs in all organizations, over 75 percent of nonprofit executive directors say they have a plan to leave within the next five years. Instead of joining the line of executives looking for other employment, try making some beneficial changes within your organization.
Create a work and rest cycle
Research shows that employees become very ineffective after they have worked more than 50 hours in a workweek. Yet, many nonprofit employees regularly clock more than 70 hours in a week, which leads to burnout. Instead, limit the number of hours to six or less before you take an hour break. Insist that you will not work more than six days in a row. You need to lead by example, but make sure that those under you get the same benefit. Balancing life and work leads to happier employees who are more productive.
Leave time each day for items you wish to do
There is no doubt that the list of items demanding your attention is probably more than you will accomplish during the workday. Therefore, many executives find little time to reflect on the things they wish were happening. This leads to lack of direction within the organization. Create a special time and place each day that you can reflect on the items you wish to think about. Make this a top priority by finding a time and place you will not be interrupted, but where you’re comfortable.
Cultivate a healthy work environment
You, and many of your employees, may work far into the night on occasion. Yet, you expect everyone to be back at work the same time the next day. Doing this causes you and others to grumble about the demands of the job. Instead, provide flexible work schedules where people can trade late hours for time off during the day when they need to attend a child’s school event or just take time for themselves.
Create an open door environment
While your desk may be piled full of important things to accomplish, make employees your top priority by letting them know your office is always open for them to talk to you. When they choose to do so, make sure you are listening by giving them feedback. Splurge for lunch occasionally providing more time to listen. You can also host regular meetings where you listen to your employees’ concerns and ideas.
Set clear boundaries
You should set clear boundaries when it comes to your time. Let your employees know you will not answer an email or a phone call after a certain hour in the evening. Encourage them to do the same. This boundary gives you time to decompress and return to work refreshed the next day.
When you follow these tips you will be less likely to burnout. The best nonprofit leaders lead by example, so make sure you act the way you want your employees to behave.