In this episode of Relationships at Work, communications and leadership nerd (and host) Russel Lolacher talks about perpetual urgency - its impacts on workplace culture and the steps emerging leaders can take to change that mindset.
According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2017, employees who experience high levels of job-related urgency are more likely to experience burnout and stress.
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Welcome to Relationships At Work – the guide for emerging leaders to create a workplace we love. I’m your host Russel Lolacher I’m a communications and leadership nerd with a couple of decades of experience and a heap of curiosity on how we can lead and work together to improve the employee experience. This show is a great resource to help us with that.
Every week on the show, I talk with a local or global leader on topics that are help to you to improve the workplace. We’ve tackled negativity, reimagining leadership, imposter syndrome, diversity, communication, empathy, activism, burnout, mental health, and so many other topics. And now, as an added bonus, I’ll be sharing an additional episode pulled from the pages of our weekly R@W Note which you can subscribe to. A quick and valuable bit of information on top of our regular show. So for our first R@W Note I’m passing you… This week’s RAW Note is FIRE! Addressing Our Fire Drill Mentality.
According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2017, employees who experience high levels of job-related urgency are more likely to experience burnout and stress. Specifically, the study found that 85% of U.S. workers reported feeling stressed at work, with 60% reporting that work-related pressure has increased in the past few years. Additionally, the study found that workers who reported high levels of job-related urgency were more likely to experience symptoms of burnout, such as emotional exhaustion and reduced professional efficacy. STORY I’ve worked in a few reactionary organizations in my time. Where everything is urgent, even when it doesn’t need to be. And it’s not looked upon kindly to ask questions but rather just do.
When is this due? NOW
What is the most important right now? ALL OF IT
Can I work on this tomorrow? NO, The boss/customer wants it so drop everything!
All important questions to have answered to best manager our own time to be the most productive we can be while balancing other priorities, but some cultures aren’t so interested in taking that time. Have you ever heard a phrase that immediately described something perfectly and better than you ever could? I felt that when I heard "fire drill mindset." Sound the alarm. Drop everything. Nothing is more important than this. Sound familiar? Hell, I'm getting a little anxiety just thinking about it.
"A fire drill mentality is most common in organizational cultures where leaders are unconcerned about the well-being of their colleagues and treat them as tools at their disposal." - Admired Leadership blog
So what does a leader like you do to address those fire alarms? Here's a few suggestions:
1. Address the root cause: Identify the underlying reasons why fire drills are happening frequently. Is it due to poor planning, lack of resources, or miscommunication? Once you know the root cause, take steps to address it.
2. Communicate effectively: Make sure everyone is on the same page by communicating clearly and regularly about expectations and deadlines. This can help reduce the need for last-minute rushes and panic.
3. Prioritize tasks: Encourage employees to prioritize their tasks and focus on the most important ones first. This can help prevent the feeling of being overwhelmed and the need for a fire drill.
4. Create a calm work environment: If the workplace is chaotic and disorganized, it can contribute to the feeling of needing a fire drill. Encourage a calm and organized work environment by keeping workspaces clean and tidy and promoting a positive and respectful workplace culture.
5. Provide resources and support: Make sure employees have the resources and support they need to do their jobs effectively. This can include training, equipment, and tools. By taking these steps, you could create fire drill-less culture and replace it with a more productive and positive one. At the very least, it'll be a helluva lot less stressful.
By taking these steps, you could create fire drill-less culture and replace it with a more productive and positive one. At the very least, it'll be a helluva lot less stressful.