Managing Mid-Career Slump

By Sara White posted 01-10-2016 09:40


Managing People Experiencing a Mid-Career Slump Finding Ways to Re-Energize Team Members from Mind Tools Club has the following advice for us.

  • Have any of your staff who used to be energetic, folks others relied on their experience who now seem absent mentally which isn’t just a phase and are simply not the happy, constructive and productive co-worker they used to be?
  • It is perfectly normal to start a new job full of drive and enthusiasm but to be unable to sustain the pace. When we begin we are willing to “go the extra mile” and we want to learn and experience as much as we can so it is no wonder that after several years of operating at top speed we get tired, bored or even cynical. It is easy to begin to look for something different to stimulate and satisfy us.
  • As with all problems leader need to address them sooner rather than later so don't just ignore the signs or just hope the person will “snap out of it”.
  • Leadership steps to take
    • What’s up? Explain privately and carefully what you are observing in a supportive way. Use specific examples but avoid delivering blame as you are trying to understand what is going on so you can help. They may be surprised, horrified, angry or relieved to be having the conversation so depending on the response probe a little to figure out what’s behind the slump. Don’t make assumptions and use questions based on what they have said such as;
      • You mentioned you were feeling “wrung out” what is that like?
      • What else can you tell me about “being left out”?
      • What happened next?
      • The key is to show empathy and to truly listen
    • A shared approach . The slump has probably developed over some considerable time so it’s unlikely to be quick or easy to fix it. It is not all up to you hence your role as the leader is to encourage and support them in their efforts and to deal with any wider issues you uncover. Perhaps a coach, mentor or HR employee assistance would help.  Encourage them to clarify their vision, understand their strengths/weaknesses, create some goals and develop new approaches.
    • Why should they bother? You might need to assist them to find meaning in their role.  They may have no idea how they fit into the purpose of the department and organization and what is coming in the future.  It is easy to feel one’s contribution is so unimportant that no one would notice if they left today. So go back to the basics and explore why their exact job exists, who and what relies on them doing a good job.
    • Time for change? Would it be appropriate to change their role a little or a lot? Are there projects that would stretch their thinking, knowledge or skills? Would formal training such as the Pharmacy Leadership Academy spark renewed energy. Could they work towards a promotion?
    • oFeedback. The purpose of this effort and activity is for the person’s performance to rise so be sure to set goals and monitor progress and providing feedback. Use appropriate recognition as it can work wonders for a person’s motivation, inspiring them to do even better.

Please share your experiences.