Cohort Guide for
The Weary Leader’s Guide to Burnout
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. — African Proverb
This is a step-by-step guide to developing your own cohort of leaders to slowly work through The Weary Leader’s Guide to Burnout: A Journey from Exhaustion to Wholeness. If I am able, I would love to drop in at the end of each section to answer questions or encourage your group. I hope this guide helps you become a heathy, resilient leader. Please encourage the members of your cohort to lead another cohort of their own. Let’s multiply healthy leadership throughout the world.
Author of The Weary Leader’s Guide to Burnout
Step 1: Recruit Your Cohort
Invite 2 to 12 friends, colleagues, or community leaders to join you in reading The Weary Leader’s Guide to Burnout slowly over several months. Ask them to buy a copy of the book and to download the free workbook. (Currently the workbook is available as a preorder bonus at wearyleadersguide.com. It will eventually find a home at seannemecek.com/wlgbworkbook.)
Step 2: Your First Meeting
At your first meeting have everyone introduce themselves to the group. As a group, decide when and where you will meet and at what pace you will work through the book. (Alternatively, the leader of the group could decide this in advance and provide these details in step 1.) Meeting once per month is a good pace, and I recommend meeting not more than twice per month. There’s a lot of information and work in this book. I recommend taking at least 4 months to go through it, but 12 to 18 months would be a more beneficial pace. The early chapters can be read two at a time. In parts 2 and 3 you will want to move at a slower pace. Planning a reading schedule can be helpful (a sample is provided below), although you may prefer to decide what to read at each meeting. Each meeting should last about 60 to 90 minutes (larger groups may need more time).
Step 3: Establish Group Rules
At your first meeting it is important to establish some ground rules for how the group will interact to ensure the atmosphere of the group is beneficial and safe. It’s important to engage in active listening. Here are some basic rules that will help you to be good listeners, and your group may choose to add more of their own:
- Listen to one another without preparing a response in advance.
- Ask questions to ensure you’ve understood the speaker.
- Don’t offer advice, teach, preach, or control.
- Honor vulnerability as a sacred trust by maintaining confidentiality.
You may also want do decide on what the penalty will be for violating the group rules.
Step 4: Assign a Facilitator
The facilitator for each meeting will be essential to the health of the group. The facilitator is responsible to prepare for the meeting by reviewing the reflection questions for each chapter. He or she may also want to develop their own open-ended questions to help keep the discussion flowing. An open-ended question doesn’t have a single answer (not yes or no; no right or wrong answer). They will also keep the discussion on topic and help to provide a safe atmosphere by enforcing the group rules defined above. The facilitator may be a single person for the whole cohort time or it may be a different person for each meeting.
Step 5: Plan Special Events
As you complete each of the three parts of the book, plan a special event where the cohort members can take a break from their reading and have some fun. This could be a special meal or activity that everyone can enjoy. It’s important to break up the serious discussions with lighthearted fun because this will increase the trust among group members. This would be a great time to invite Sean Nemecek to join your group (live or online) for a time of Q&A or discussion about the part of the book you’ve just completed. You can contact Sean here.
Step 6: PARTY!
Have a special ceremony or celebration to mark the completion of the cohort. At this ceremony issue certificates to each of the cohort members, invite a special speaker to join you for a short address (this could even be a cohort member), share stories or encouragements, and commission cohort members to lead their own cohorts to multiply healthy leadership in their church, organization, or community. Enjoy a meal together and have a cake or some other special food (barbecue is my favorite). Play games together and invite the cohort members to bring their immediate family. Make it a big deal.
Step 7: Follow Up
Three to six months after the completion of the cohort, have a reunion or plan a Zoom call to check in on one another. Share stories of how the cohort has affected your life. Encourage each other to pay it forward by leading another cohort or giving copies of the book to pastors or leaders they know.
Sample Reading Schedules
|Month||6 Month Plan||12 Month Plan||18 Month Plan||Develop your own plan|
|1||Intro, Chapters 1 & 2||Intro & Chapter 1||Intro & Chapter 1|
|2||Chapters 3-5||Chapters 2 & 3||Chapters 2 & 3|
|3||Chapters 6-8||Chapters 4 & 5||Chapters 4 & 5|
|4||Chapters 9-12||Special Event or|
Q&A with Sean
|Special Event or|
Q&A with Sean
|5||Chapters 13-16||Chapters 6 & 7||Chapter 6|
|6||Party or Q&A w/ Sean||Chapter 8||Chapter 7|
|7||Chapters 9 & 10||Chapter 8|
|8||Chapters 11 & 12||Chapter 9|
|9||Special Event or|
Q&A with Sean
|Chapter 10 & Appendix 1|
|10||Chapters 13 & 14||Chapter 11|
|11||Chapters 15 & 16||Chapter 12|
|12||Party!||Special Event or|
Q&A with Sean