Non-Profit Leadership: Solitude Deficiencies

Non-profit leaders face overwhelming demands, resulting in staff burnout and turnover. Addressing their solitude deficiency and achieving work-life balance is critical.
stressed out employee at his computer

For non-profit leaders it’s often very hard to plan a day and keep those plans. Why? There’s just so much to do, little time to do it, and the needs continue to grow. There are never-ending activities in the world of meeting needs of so many people and as that need grows, so does the stress, the busyness, and the demands on time, energy, resources, and so much more.

I realize my staff is in the same situation. They’re overwhelmed with the needs of our students and their families and there are endless tasks to provide the services and support that they need. There are endless issues, compliances, deficits, and demands that fill our time, so there’s hardly time to have the necessary meetings that are required by our mission.

Since we have grown due to COVID needs and the required staff to meet the post-COVID world, our daily tasks and job roles have expanded. Also, our continued dependence on technology requires a great deal of time to implement. When you add to that the security concerns, the complexity of providing services, and all the human demands and requirements, the work of non-profit management is extremely demanding. It leaves little time for non-profit leaders and staff to have time to think, regulate, plan, and find life balance.

As we’ve considered what our supervisors, managers, leaders, and staff need we’re convinced there is a shortage of time for a level of solitude. As I’ve spoken to other organizational leaders, the constancy of stress is causing a significant loss of professionals in schools and the mental health field. Staff turnover is growing, which is leaving a gap that could be devastating. Lakeside is no different in that we are sensing this significant set of issues and losses. 

Non-profits are now in a place where we are all seeking ways to hire and retain quality staff. If we are going to prevent burn-out and maintain staff members who are healthy enough to meet the needs of our clients and our administrative duties, we have to be willing to address the solitude deficiency.

One problem is typically we are conditioned to be busy either at work or at home. We are not in the practice of finding healthy ways to balance our stress and emotions by breaking from the routines to find space that renews and energizes us. Some of us find brief moments in our vacations but we rarely integrate it into our everyday lives.

For non-profits, we all need to develop opportunities for our staff members and leadership to find what gives them the time, space, and capability to find stress relief from their hectic jobs. We need to train it, implement it, measure and monitor it so we know our staff are integrating into their lives a good balance of their work and their ability to relieve that stress.

It’s time to be intentional and start the process with our leadership and those they lead in our organizations. It’s time to rectify the solitude deficiency by integrating it into our practices and policies.

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