Three Simple Steps To Address Burnout From A LinkedIn Leader

Unsplash, Luis Villasmil
UNSPLASH, LUIS VILLASMIL

Compassionate leaders spend time connecting with their team members and developing authentic and caring relationships with them. I recently met a LinkedIn executive and people scientist, Justin Black who offers three simple steps, backed up by data that will help you become a more compassionate and effective leader, NOW.

Justin says he was destined to be a people-scientist before the age of 16. The son of two educators, Justin said he was treated like an “adult” and that his parents brought work home… but in a good way. Dinner discussions included topics around what their parents were trying to achieve in their work and he noticed that, at their core, was an intrinsic humanitarian element with a genuine desire to take care of people. He would later become interested in anthropology and management science and ultimately discovered Industrial-Organizational Psychology in college. He ended up switching his major and studied the psychology of the culture of work. Justin takes the ideals behind people’s science to create transformative impact for his customers at Glint.

Glint is a people-driven organization that provides data analysis designed to help organizations improve their business while ensuring that they prioritize the wellbeing of their employees above all. It was acquired by LinkedIn in 2018 for $400 M. Justin is the senior director of people science at Glint and it his job to use data to figure out how teams can work together most effectively and efficiently.

In today’s work culture, there’s a strong tendency to praise the “grind” and this mentality of being “always on” and working from home seems to be making it worse. A recent Glint survey of over 100,000 employees found that burnout is a consistent concern, with 64 percent reporting feeling negativity about their current workload. And from March to May, 34 percent of companies saw a decrease in work-life balance.

At a time when many are facing uncertainty and/or economic hardship, Justin and his team seek to ameliorate the added stress, offering data to companies so that they can best support their employees. According to their research, employees are still feeling positive and grateful for how most companies are handling the crisis. But it is a sense of belonging that people are after now, a sense of connection to their company, its people, and its culture that has become most important. It is through this belonging that people are more driven and content in the workplace.

His no nonsense approach towards leadership prioritizes collaboration and cultivating strong relationships with his colleagues. He offers these steps to address and prevent burnout:

1.     Goal-alignment: Set goals so that everyone is on the same page and in line with the company’s core mission and values. He begins every week, checking in with the team and updating the collective goals if needed.

2.     Weekly check-ins: It is then crucial to provide regular opportunity for feedback one-to-one check-ins. Here Justin provides a space for authentic two-way communication that builds trust and fosters better relationships.

3.    Repeat consistently: Focusing in on shared objectives and creating authentic relationships with your team will lead to a sense of belonging and more productivity.  

It is through this simple yet powerful process that has allowed Justin to work with his talented team while tying their contributions to the core values to the bigger picture at LinkedIn. Justin pointed out, “when the values fit, you figure everything out.”