Deliberate Leadership; How to Navigate Burnout – Jennifer Chapman

“As a leader, no matter where you are, you must have boundaries and be clear about what is okay.” Jennifer Chapman

The lack of boundaries at the workplace has been identified to be among the primary root cause of burnout among leaders. The dilemma that most leaders face, therefore, is how can they establish healthy boundaries at work? Our guest today, Jennifer Chapman, advocates for leaders to set healthy boundaries by identifying their areas of interest and delegating all other tasks for better productivity and increased engagement with their teams.

Jennifer Chapman used to be a workaholic, known as the go-to person for getting things done and managing the most difficult clients at a Fortune 500 consulting firm. She thrived in challenging situations, proving to others time and time again that she was invincible. Eventually, Jennifer’s mental and physical health began to suffer, so she decided to create a new professional and personal life that aligned with what she valued most. She created the job she wants and a new independent confidence, and she continues to bring her authentic self into all of her work. She is more successful—in terms of happiness, financial security, and her ability to help others— than she has ever been.

Today, Jennifer is an expert leadership coach, working with STEM managers and leaders who want to increase productivity and performance by strengthening their confidence and people skills. When Jennifer isn’t developing the next generation of influential leaders, she can be found spending time with her husband and five children and hitting the trails with their beloved dog!

In today’s episode, our guest will talk about the benefits of delegation in leadership. She will also shed more light on why setting boundaries in leadership is ideal and how managers can learn to let go.

Listen in!

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  • I have lived in a bunch of different places and I am a mum to two biological kids and three awesome step kids. [4:00]
  • I have a lot of accountability to myself and to others to make sure I am taking good care of myself. [5:14]
  • I left the consulting firm I was working for on leap day and the first year and a half was super scary. [11:24]
  • When I was at the consulting firm, I had the opportunity to work at a scientific organization as a consultant, onsite for three years. [6:10]
  • I noticed that I enjoyed working with all these different kinds of scientists. [6:24]
  • I have a gift of showing those with a more scientific, data-driven, task-focused mindset why paying attention to the people side of things is going to help them and their bottom line. [6:53]
  • I am also married to a mechanical engineer, and it has been a great partnership. [7:11]
  • If you keep hanging on to responsibilities and you don’t shift what your perspective is as you move up in an organization you will burn out. [9:42]
  • I often have my clients organize their duties and responsibilities into tasks that energize them and those that deplete them of their energy. [10:15]
  • They then delegate the things that drain them to get as many of those things off their plates then they are left with the work that they love. [10:28]
  • I love to find out from my specific clients where the breakdown is happening to help them personally to get to a place where they feel confident delegating and making room for the work they love to be doing. [11:26]
  • One thing to keep in mind is whatever you say yes to, you are saying no to a whole bunch of other things, and the opposite is true. [13:10]
  • I find it easier for stem leaders to let go when they can keep their minds focused on what it is that they want and whether the things they are doing are going to have more of it. [13:34]
  • In my previous position, I was often asked by the people above me who my second team was and which people I was training to take my place so that when I get promoted, there would be someone to take the lead. [14:35]
  • In the science industry and tech industry, there is usually one right way to get from point A to point B, yet it is not that way all the time in other things. [15:33]
  • If you think more about what needs to get done instead of how it needs to get done, you will be able to empower your direct reports with so much more autonomy. [15:50]
  • As they have those experiences their confidence increases and they are grateful to you for giving them the experiences. [16:05]
  • Commercial Break. [16:38]
  • When the intelligence and accomplishments of applicants are the same when deciding to offer someone a position, the soft skills or people skills will be the differentiator. [19:20]
  • A lot of people who have gotten ahead in their career without worrying about it are realizing that to be competitive and be employed, they have to stop and think about it. [19:34]
  • I work with clients to help them be clear about what is theirs to own and what is not theirs to own. [23:45]
  • You’re the leader and guide, but it is not entirely up to you to make everybody this perfect person that a lot of people never become. [27:19]
  • As a leader, no matter where you are, you must have boundaries and be clear about what is okay. [28:25]
  • Before you chastise your direct reports for not having good enough boundaries and avoiding burnout, look at your behaviors and ask yourself if you are modeling what you are asking them to do. [31:20]


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