Why Are You Burning Out?

Want to know why you’re constantly burning out? It’s pretty simple really. After studying and using DISC for over the last 10 years of my career, I’ve noticed this pretty impressive pattern starting to develop.

If you’re not familiar with DISC, you can read about it here.

For those that are familiar with DISC, you will be aware that if you’ve undertaken a proper assessment you have what’s called a “Natural Style” profile and a “Perceived Need to Adjust” profile (as pictured below).


So, what are these 2 profiles able to tell us about this individual above.

You can see in Profile II, which is their Natural Profile, the individual has an extremely High S and High C. This persons profile would be classified as a SC given both the S an C are above the middle section of the graph.

The behavioural traits of someone that is a mix of and S and a C would be someone that is

  • Helpful
  • Calm
  • Relaxed
  • Careful
  • A thinker
  • Perhaps sometimes a little slow

Now, compare those traits to their “Perceived Need to Adjust” profile which is a High C and S – note they are the same behaviours just switched around.

What this profile is telling us is that the person has the perceived need to adjust who they are naturally to meet the demands of the environment or role they are currently in at work.

Their natural S drops yet their C increases. (Note, we look at the numbers on the bottom of the graph not the positioning of the graph). This would tend to indicate that the environment or role they are in they feel the need to be a lot more organised, it is either a highly processed or systematic role, they want to be in control, they are dealing with a lot of facts, data or important information and have a desire to deliver only perfect results.

Given they already posses a High C in their Natural Style, it would not take too much additional effort for that person to be engaged in that type or quality of work, however they need to be aware that if they are put under too much pressure as a C, there are certain behavioural traits of their higher Natural default style S that could appear ie: without clear deadlines they could become slow. If they don’t have enough information, will not be comfortable to make a decision – analysis paralysis etc.

If, for example the “Perceived Need to Adjust” profile in this instance was in fact a High I instead of a High C, this would be a much more significant shift from their Natural Style and therefore take a lot more energy as being a High I and dealing with people being an enthusiastic people person, isn’t something that comes as naturally to them. It does not mean they are not capable of doing the role, they absolutely are, it just means it will take more energy and it will not be as sustainable long term and there is a greater risk of them burning out. Make sense?

I am a first hand example of this. In my previous life as first a Lawyer and then Head of HR for various companies – I know odd mix, but hey, for years, I had my Natural Style as High CI. I loved information, detail etc, hence the Lawyer and High C, but also I also loved being around people. My perceived need to adjust however was High I followed by a High C. Given I was Head of HR, I felt the need to be more “visible” and enthusiastic than what I actually sometimes wanted to be and that I probably needed to be which in turn lead me to burn out….twice.

Now, I am quite a comfortable mix of DCS, which if anyone would have ever told me I would have had an S or D in me, I wouldn’t have believed them, but secretly I think I’ve been working towards slowing down but also being more confident in who I am. I turned 40 last year and well it’s safe to say am in a pretty good place. I no longer feel the need to have a position with a specific company to demonstrate my self worth, my priorities are about my family, making sure the kids feel safe, confident, loved, that I’m there for them yet being able to also have a sense of purpose which is passing on the gift of knowledge I have gathered throughout my career,  so it can help others short cut what can sometimes take years to figure out.

So, I’ll leave you with one question, if you’re not happy in your role at work, not sure you’re In the right role, feeling lost or not loving what you’re doing, constantly feeling exhausted, it’s definitely not the only reason to do a DISC profile, but it would be highly beneficial to be able to uncover what’s going on inside that brain of yours.

I could continue to share hundreds of stories of light bulb ah ha moments so many people have after completing profiles, but this blog would end up being way too long, so I will work on getting some of the most fun ones together and share them separately. Till then.

What it really takes to be a Conscious Leader

I’m often asked “What is Conscious Leadership”? How do I know if I’m a conscious leader or not, so I thought I’d shed a little light on the topic.

The difference between these two styles of Leaders:

  1. Conscious Leader – A leader that is making decisions and is fully aware of how their decision or behavior is potentially going to impact others.
  2. Unconscious Leader – A leader that makes decisions completely unaware of how their decision or behavior is going to impact others.

I’m sure we’ve all worked with leaders and team members that lacked self awareness – If I’m honest sometimes I am quite jealous of people who are blissfully unaware…for a minute or two, then the reality hits home, that it’s actually not as great as it appears.
But it can be incredibly frustrating working with a team member or leader who lacks self awareness. I came across this diagram – I can’t take credit for it, but it’s a perfect example of how when you have people in leadership roles or in a team with various levels of self awareness how challenging work can become.

Let’s start with those that are not self aware (the bottom right hand quadrant). When a leader and employee both lack self awareness, chances are it’s the blind leading the blind. They’re operating in a pretty reactive state, nothing is really being achieved, there is probably a culture of blame, victim mentality and well it’s not at all engaging. It’s chaotic.

Now, lets move to the employee being self aware and working with an unaware or unconscious leader (top right hand corner) – Hello frustration. Did you know that frustration with a direct leader is one of the biggest causes of employees resigning from their roles? It can be quite hard to try and have an impact when you’re working with someone who is unaware of how their behaviour and deiciosn are impacting the team.

However, when a leader has self awareness and an employee does not (bottom left quadrant) – there is an OPPORTUNITY for the leader to develop the employee. To mentor, coach, stretch them to think differently, ask questions, and start to unlock that self awareness within. This can be via feedback, coaching, a DISC Profile or opportunity to be exposed to new projects to challenge what they currently don’t know they don’t know.

Where the magic happens is when you have a self aware leader and self aware employee. Hello potential. With self awareness comes someone who truly knows themselves. They’re honest and upfront about where the excel, what they need help with. You can cut through the BS, have more honest conversations about what is best for the business and each other, build greater rapport as there is no confusion about the part they are each going to play in achieving success.

Pretty simple hey?

Self awareness – definitely one of the most valuable asset leaders and employees can have. Do you agree?

What Makes a Great Leader

What makes a Great Leader?

There are many articles written about leadership these days, some I skim over and get nothing from, others grab my attention and I’m glued. Usually the ones that grab my attention are those that have some aspect of scientific reference, after all, everything starts with science somewhere along the lines, doesn’t it?

So what makes a great leader? In my opinion, you need to have:

  1. Great self awareness
  2. Clarity on what success looks like and how you’re going to get there.
  3. Strong professional relationships with those influential to your success – your direct team – the one you lead and any others you’re part and
  4. Consistent time set aside for Investment in your development and the development of your team.

If you’re reading this, I’ve made the assumption that you’re a leader of a business or may desire to be a leader in the future.

If you’re a current leader, ask yourself, how’s your career or business going? Are you flying along, in flow, everything is lining up, sales are growing, costs in control, people happy, relationships strong?  Or are there constant challenges, one after the other, nothing quite going right, missing sales, struggling to get your people to stick around, move forward?

Well, if you’re in the first scenario, put your hand out in front of you, face your palm and lift it up to pat yourself on the back. Well done. you’re obv doing many things right.

If, however you’re in the second category and need some assistance, you’re not alone. Careers and business have and will continue to evolve at a pretty rapid rate and you too need to continue to evolve to ensure you’ve got constant clarity on what success looks like for you in your role and how you’re going to get there. If you haven’t invested in any Personal development or you’re still running a Strategy from even 2 years ago, it may be time to set some time aside to refocus and reflect.

Self Awareness is an absolute no brainer when it comes to being a great leader. If you’ve ever worked for a leader who lacked self awareness, you know what I’m talking about – the word frustration comes to mind. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know – that’s ok. It’s when you think you know it all, yet your behaviours, decisions and results prove otherwise. The best way to create greater self awareness, is to get down and dirty with the science behind who you are and complete an Advanced DISC Profile. Click here to find out more about how to develop great self awareness.

Likewise, clarity is a key ingredient in success. Once you have clarity it enables you to prioritise where you spend your time in order to make the greatest impact and have the greatest return. A success plan that you regularly check in to and have someone hold you accountable to, is a great place to start.

So what is a Success Plan? It’s a modern twist on the old skool Position/Job Description except it doesn’t list a long list of tasks to do, the language used is more aspirational. You actually write what success looks like aka  – You know you’ve been successful when…. you’ve delivered x % of growth YOY, when retention is sitting at y.

It really is quite a simple yet powerful tool. Once you’ve got clarity on what success looks like in your role, it will provide valuable transparency to your team with what you need to deliver to be successful and in turn what they need to deliver to assist the businesses success.

If you’re a CEO, you’d absolutely need clarity from the Board as to what success looks like, – it doesn’t have to be as straight forward as a Success Plan. By the Board reviewing whats been working, what hasn’t, where the business needs to go in order to be successful…… receiving feedback is a form of clarity. Either way, long or short term, you need to make sure you’re on the right track and not just turning up day after day going through the motions. You need to be moving forward and so does the business you’re part of. It sounds simple and I hate to say it, it really is. Clarity is key.

Clarity from your peers and/or your team is also incredibly valuable. If they have clarity on what success looks like for you in your role, it will help them have greater clarity in what they need to deliver to contribute to the success.

When they have clarity, there is no confusion and everyone can simply get on with what they need to deliver.

When it comes to Strong professional relationships with your peers and team, if you truely want to embrace a future of trust, respect and speed, there needs to be the culture of open and honest conversations where feedback is welcome, as it’s always given and received openly for the intention of improving a person, decision or outcome for the business.

Feedback delivered or received without having a strong professional relationship can do great damage. It can ruin relationships, cause people to get their backs up and actually hinder ongoing communications and actually back fire from the initial good intentions. So, before thinking everyone is going to be on board with your plan and purely wanting support and confirmation, be open to actually listening to what feedback they’re providing. Feedback whether we like it or not is a gift, what we choose to do with it is up to us. If we value the person giving it to us, we’re more than likely to listen, consider and act, but if we don’t value them, we’re more likely to disagree, ignore and not act which can also be a valuable mistake.

So how do you build strong professional relationships? Time, yes, but by also finding common values. When you have things in common with another person you feel you are like each other, get each other and are able to relate to each other more so than with someone whom perhaps you do not have as much in common with. However, by you continuing to invest in your own personal development you can continue to learn the art and science or personal excellence aka self awareness and emotional intelligence – the internal dividends it will pay, will be significant.

Most of us want the last tech in our lives, or at least tech that’s helping our lives become easier, by updating the way we as leaders operate -think, behave and execute, we too can lead more easily, with greater results, so what are you waiting for. Become the leader you’ve always wanted to be.