How to Avoid Burnout

Sections of this topic

    Sections of This Topic Include

    Burnout — Can You Recognize the Signs?
    Noticed Burnout – Now What?
    Additional Perspectives on Avoiding Burnout

    Also, consider
    Personal Development
    Personal Productivity
    Related Library Topics

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    Coaching Blog

    Library’s Human Resources

    Library’s Spirituality

    Burnout is spiritual, physical, emotional, and/or mental exhaustion, usually
    resulting from one or more long-term, unsatisfying efforts. Burnout seems to
    be on the rise in organizations, resulting in poor health, poor performance, and conflicts in the workplace (internal conflicts and conflicts with others).

    Burnout — Can You Recognize the Signs?

    © Copyright Sheri Mazurek

    Carrie walks into your office this morning with an unfamiliar look on her
    face that reminds me of the look your seven-year-old gives when they break a rule.
    The conversation goes something like this:
    “Good morning Carrie! What’s going on?”

    “Um, I need to talk to you.”

    “Sure. What do you want to talk about?”

    Carrie slides a sheet of paper in front of you. You immediately notice the
    word resignation. It’s there screaming at you. You take a breath.

    “You are resigning. I’m surprised. Why did you decide to leave?”

    How common is this scenario in your office? How often do you and your managers
    find themselves shocked by the notice? Are there signs you may have missed?

    • When you manage a team of high-performing, high-potential employees, missing
      the signs of an unsatisfied employee has a much greater cost to your organization
      than just recruiting. These are signs most managers can’t afford to
      miss. Below is a list of things to notice:
    • Change in performance or productivity. It’s very common to dismiss
      a few performance misses with your top performers because most of the time
      because you want to give them the benefit of the doubt. That may be okay,
      but don’t ignore it. Monitor and address as necessary.
    • Increased absences and tardiness. When the workplace becomes a source of
      stress for an employee, they will find reasons to avoid the environment. Look
      for any change in attendance. Does the employee seek ways to leave the office?
      Do they leave immediately at quitting time as opposed to staying late as usual?
    • Changes in demeanor. Have you noticed a change in mood from positive and
      upbeat to quiet, sullen, or depressed? Does the employee seem irritated and
      negative? Also, look for any change that is not typical of that person including
      changes in focus. There may be an explanation from an outside source; engage
      in dialogue with them to determine this.
    • Changes in break times. Is the employee taking more time than usual? Be
      Be careful of the clock watchers especially if this is a new behavior.
    • Change of relationships with co-workers. Employees often form tight connections
      with co-workers. In times of stress, those connections can be supportive or
      destructive. What to watch for in this case would be a change in behavior.

    Noticed Burnout — Now What?

    © Copyright Sheri Mazurek

    Engage your employees.

    Spend time each day engaging your employees. Whenever possible, spend a few
    minutes with them in person. Monitor for changes as described above.

    Provide clear communication on expectations and success.

    Provide all employees with consistent fair feedback on performance. Thank you
    employees for coming to work and meeting expectations. Praise them when they
    exceed expectations and communicate with them when they miss expectations.

    Give employees as much control of their work as allowed.

    Most people assert negative control when they feel as though they have none.
    They do this by choosing to not stay late and coming in early. They make choices
    to “show you” that they don’t have to do any more than they
    have to do.

    Communicate the importance of their role in the organization.

    Employees want to feel that their work is valued. Share how their work contributes
    to client and company success.

    Provide opportunities for growth and learning.

    This doesn’t mean requiring them to go to company-provided training sessions
    that were planned by someone else (although it may be depending on the individual
    and the learning topic and environment). Let the employee guide this process.
    Discuss development with them.

    Avoid the following questions:

    • “In what areas do you want to develop this year?”
    • “What kind of training would you be interested in taking this year?”

    Try These Instead

    • “What parts of your job do you most enjoy?”
    • “If you could create your dream job, what would it be?”

    Use the dialogue to help identify stretch assignments or goals you can establish
    for the employee.

    Ensure the work environment is cooperative and respectful.

    Employees want to be treated fairly and with respect. As the supervisor, you
    need to model this behavior and hold everyone accountable for it.

    Look for ways to remove obstacles to proficiency.

    Look to see what obstacles are blocking employees’ success and find ways
    to remove them. Look for unnecessary duplicate processes that can be removed.

    Engage employees in finding solutions.

    Operate an open door to bring concerns and questions. How you respond as a
    supervisor sends a key message to an employee. If an employee comes to you with
    a valid concern or suggestion, hear them out. Ask some of the following questions:

    • “What suggestions do you have to improve in this area?”
    • “How will this work in our department?”
    • “What benefits does it have?”
    • “What are the obstacles?”
    • “What support would you need to help implement this suggestion?

    Set realistic work expectations.

    Don’t expect everyone to work at the same pace and with the same strengths.
    Set expectations that are reasonable and as previously mentioned remove obstacles
    to success. Be flexible with how work is accomplished whenever possible to meet
    individual differences.

    Provide Fun.

    Offer ways for employees to relax for a few minutes during the work day. Host
    a potluck or special lunch for employees to socialize and network with one another
    in a relaxed setting. If you can’t find an idea, there are multiple books
    available with tons of ideas. Or just ask your employees what ideas they have.

    Additional Perspectives on Avoiding Burnout

    Burnout — Can You Recognize the Signs?
    to Prevent Burnt Out Employees

    Egoectomy Procedure

    Burnout? Now What?

    Also, consider
    Bullying (Addressing)
    Emotional Intelligence
    Financial Fitness
    Job Satisfaction
    Motivating and Inspiring

    Physical Fitness
    Stress Management
    Work-Life Balance

    For the Category of Personal Wellness:

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