Chad T. Ahern
Talents & Burnout: Futuristic®
We recognize that the United States is going through massive upheaval in trying to address longstanding, systemic racial inequality and injustice. Even as we join in the efforts to support such initiatives, we also believe continuing to share perspectives via our #talentswithoutburnout series can help people better understand one another as unique, talented individuals that should be celebrated and supported, regardless of their skin color or national origin.
"People exceptionally talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They energize others with their visions of the future." - Gallup CliftonStrengths Quick Reference Guide -
"What's coming next?" Normally, this question helps inspire and drive those with Futuristic® talents. Seeing over the horizon to plan for, to anticipate, and to aim toward peoples' and organizations' success is what they naturally do. These same talents can also be pushed to the edge if unforeseen change comes out of nowhere. As of this writing, our current COVID-19 pandemic is literally and figuratively rewriting our environment. This "rewrite" could be causing burnout in the following ways:
Seeing into the future is getting harder and harder to do given the unpredictability of COVID-19. New data, new guidelines, new understandings appear daily; making it harder to “view over the horizon” for what comes next. The same can occur with other dramatic changes so don't discount that this will only occur in a pandemic.
Those with Futuristic® talents might be expending lots of time and energy to "re-find" old horizon reference points. With some of those references not even existing any more, further frustration and exhaustion could build, leading to burnout.
With so many of their colleagues focusing on addressing the "here and now", those with Futuristic® talents might feel that they are trying to get a "crowd of the unwilling" to look to the future. Speaking to those who don't want to listen will incur burnout.
The future is not going away. The Futuristic® talents possessed by your colleagues and friends are similarly not going away, nor is their ability to contribute to your shared success. Therefore, as a leader and a colleague it would behoove you to help alleviate burnout pressures by: Helping those with Futuristic® talents refocus their time frames.
If they used to help you forecast a year ahead, now get them to focus on the coming month week or month. If they forecasted three months ahead, it might be enough to have them help see 3 days or 3 weeks forward.
You could also try the opposite. If they used to view three months forward, ask them to envision what your company/organization looks like in three years. For our current pandemic, this might mean forecasting answers to questions like, "What happens if there is (or isn't) a vaccine?" "How do we recover from a potential Recession?" "What does our industry look like if every stays 'remote'?"
Provide time and avenues to address the future. With so much effort being put into thinking our present realities, many may not have time to think about and outline the future. Allowing those with Futuristic® to outline the future will provide them an outlet for their thinking, and alleviate some of the stress others might be holding onto regarding the future.
As with coaching any individual, their combined set of talent themes will effect how their Futuristic® talents show up, and how to best manage them. As a beginning, next time you check-in with them, ask,
How do you want to help create the future of our work and your world?
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