Is relying on the drive and resilience of your high-performers sustainable? Strategies to Prevent Burnout and Build Resilient Teams.

We explain how organisations can prevent burnout by shifting teams away from constant peak performance.

When was the last time you worked under pressure to meet a deadline or achieve a goal? How did you feel after?

You might have managed to meet your target, but chances are, it left you feeling drained and depleted. Many people claim to thrive under pressure, but how would they fare if this was their permanent reality? 

It’s a dream when store managers have a team of eager, positive and driven team members who are willing to go the extra mile, both for colleagues and customers.  But it’s also essential that store managers monitor the energy levels of these individuals. If they push their teams too hard, encouraging them to operate in a peak performance zone for too long, they run the risk of burnout. It’s equally important that organisations do the same for their store managers.

On the flip side, if teams are not challenged enough in their roles and given new opportunities to learn and grow, organisations run the risk of losing them. Building sustainable resilience in team members is essential for maintaining productivity, well-being and adaptability in the face of challenges.

Strategies to build sustainable resilience

Our global study with 15 retail and consumer brands into the behaviours that drive high-performing teams draws on over 4,000 data points from 200+ interviews of high performers.  From the research, we’ve highlighted some of the strategies we’ve heard high-performing managers talk about below:

Providing adequate resources and support. They ensure their team members have access to the resources, tools and support they need to effectively perform their jobs, if these are available. This includes providing the right coaching, training, mentorship and assistance when tackling complex tasks.

Encouraging a growth mindset. The best managers consciously create cultures of continuous learning and growth within the team by emphasising the importance of resilience and the benefits of learning from failure. They encourage individuals to bounce off ideas amongst the team rather than provide all the answers themselves.

Recognising and celebrating achievements. Managers that acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of team members get more in return. Recognising their efforts and contributions boosts morale and motivation, creating a positive work environment.

Providing opportunities for autonomy and decision-making. High-performing managers know how and when to step back and empower team members by giving them autonomy and decision-making authority in their work.  Giving teams control over their work processes instils a sense of ownership and empowerment, enhancing resilience and confidence in the longer term. 

It’s clear that people thrive in kind, supportive environments, where their efforts are recognised and there are opportunities to develop themselves professionally. At the same time, teams need efficient practices and processes to enable them to work at their best (there is a high presence of purposeful communication and finding opportunities for continuous improvements).

Positive work environment. Across our interviews, we recorded 1,016 examples of team support! The emphasis on team support and authentic connections suggests that creating a positive work environment based on trust, collaboration and genuine relationships is crucial in retail settings, leading to higher morale, engagement and productivity.

Building a culture of continuous improvement. The focus on continuous improvement we identified highlights that high-performing teams value learning, growth and adaptability. Retail businesses that prioritise ongoing development and innovation are better equipped to respond to market changes, improve processes and meet evolving customer needs.

How regularly is learning being encouraged within your team?

Motivation and goal orientation. Many high-performers we spoke to exhibited a strong drive to succeed in their work. Employees and managers who are driven to achieve results are likely to be more focused, resilient and willing to go the extra mile to meet objectives and exceed expectations. Finding ways to tap into colleagues’ motivations could unlock more productive performance. 

Talent development and succession planning. The emphasis we found on developing talent suggests a commitment from both managers and their teams to nurture skills, abilities and invest in career progression. Retail businesses that invest in training, coaching and mentorship are better positioned to retain top talent, build leadership pipelines and sustain long-term success. 

Effective communication. Purposeful communication is essential for aligning individuals with organisational goals, clarifying expectations and fostering collaboration. High-performing managers put focus on building clear and transparent communication channels to facilitate understanding, engagement and accountability among team members.

A balanced approach

Building and sustaining high-performing teams in retail requires a balanced approach that nurtures both individual and collective growth. Managers must provide adequate resources, encourage a growth mindset, recognise achievements, and empower team members with autonomy. Creating a positive work environment, fostering continuous improvement, and investing in talent development are essential strategies highlighted by our research. By focusing on these areas, retail organisations can enhance resilience, productivity, and long-term success, ensuring that both team members and managers thrive without risking burnout.

To read the full report, download your copy here:  Reach out to us and find out more about how we are working with organisations to coach and embed high-performance behaviours at scale.