From burnout to bravery: Getting the tools to lead with confidence
Perhaps the most studied and talked-about generation to date, millennials are (in)famous for a number of reasons: our impressive digital literacy as the first generation having grown up around digital technology, our laziness, narcissism, and sense of entitlement (as a hard-working millennial, I take personal offense to this stereotype), being the “brokest” generation…
And one more thing: burnout.
Anne Helen Petersen, author of Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, describes how “the burnout experienced by millennials is textured by how we interact with digital technologies, and some of our ideas about work and the fetishization of overwork. There’s a feeling of instability that’s the baseline economic condition for many, many millennials, and it’s enhanced by these other components of our lives that make it harder to turn away from.”
For Thysa Beekman, burnout served as a catalyst for change.
Are you solving the right problem?
In reality, working in fast-paced environments often doesn’t give you the privilege of taking the time to dive deep into a problem in order to find effective solutions (sorry, Einstein).
As an editor in live television, Thysa’s day-to-day work revolved heavily around solving problems on the fly. Due to the constant pressure to make deadlines and decreased (mental) capacity, she says that leaping to solutions was her default mode. She compares it to putting a band-aid on the problem instead of looking for the root cause, letting it bleed underneath. Once a show aired, the problems disappeared with it – so why bother focusing on those problems again?
In the EMERGE: Lead With Courage program, Thysa learned a more effective method to approach problem-solving by asking these three questions:
- Am I solving the right problem?
- Have I explored broadly enough given the type of problem I am trying to solve?
- What are the most important assumptions I have, and how do I test them?
Applying these questions to her new job has shifted her mindset and attitude toward problem-solving. Thinking back to the job that caused her to burn out, Thysa says, “I don’t want to go there again.”
How do you deal with conflict?
Working in television sounds glamorous – until you’re the person behind the camera. Fast-paced and extremely competitive, the industry requires its workers to be on constant alert, navigating chaos, crisis, and uncertainty all at the same time.
Thysa admits to shying away from conflict in her old job instead of facing it head-on. “I kept putting my head down and thinking, ‘Okay, this is going to blow over.’ And it did blow over and burn me out,” she says.
In the EMERGE program, Thysa learned about “healthy conflict” and why it’s vital for any organization to function effectively. A conflict-free working environment is a peaceful dystopia that no organization should aspire to become.
In EMERGE’s “Healthy Conflict” session, Thysa examined her own approach to conflict by exploring the three types of reactive mindsets: Protecting, Complying, and Controlling. By thinking about how she deals with conflict, she was able to identify her areas of improvement and learning edges. After all, knowing how to manage conflict effectively is crucial for any manager to be successful.
Learning to lead with confidence
Thysa eventually left the company – and industry – that caused her to burn out (along with several other members of the team who also burnt out).
“I realized that TV really isn’t it for me anymore,” she says. “THNK really helped me make this decision.” Thysa joined THNK’s EMERGE program to take a step back and rethink her passion and purpose.
“I hope my brain was a big enough sponge to soak it all up because it was really an eye-opener,” she tells us.
Thanks to her leadership journey in EMERGE – combined with THNK Leadership Coaching – Thysa has learned to embrace and accept what happened in the past, knowing that these patterns don’t have to repeat themselves in the future.
Post-EMERGE, Thysa has noticed that her confidence has increased significantly. In her previous job, being a leader meant “they tell you what to do and that’s it,” she says. “EMERGE showed me a way of doing things differently and for me, as a future leader, EMERGE showed me a way to lead.”
To get the tools to lead with confidence, join the THNK EMERGE: Lead With Courage program.