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Burnout: Reading the Tea Leaves
Burnout is running rampant in our workplaces. Most sources have cited that it impacts over 50% of employees, with no signs of letting up. It got so bad in 2021 that several large corporations decided to give employees a mandatory, one-week vacation to try to alleviate some of its symptoms.
The key thing to understand is that burnout affects your most engaged employees. It impacts those who are already working hard, care about the organization, and are highly invested in its success. So, it is incredibly detrimental to your business when you lose these folks to burnout. It is important to educate your managers to keep on the lookout for burnout symptoms before they escalate to full-scale crispiness.
In the simplest terms, burnout revolves around three pillars: exhaustion, detachment and inefficacy.
- Exhaustion is profound physical, cognitive and emotional fatigue typically resulting from heavy workloads, deadline pressures, always-on culture and/or lack of control.
- Detachment happens when a worker distances themselves from the job and the team. Often feelings of negativity and distrust can manifest as well.
- Inefficacy occurs when skills slip or become irrelevant and/or when a worker lacks support, resources or information to do their job well.
Our high achieving team members don’t tend to share or open up when they start to feel burned out. Instead, they often grin and bear it or double down on their efforts—the opposite of what we need them to do.
As a leader, keep an eye out for the signs of burnout in your team:
- Unable to complete tasks on time
- Losing track of tasks and time
- Moodiness or irritability
- Withdrawal or lack of participation in meetings
- Fatigue not solved by extra rest
- Minor unexplained physical ailments
- Problems with sleep
- Chronic work during personal hours
Additionally, create an environment that encourages team members to speak up when they notice the signs for themselves.
The necessity of vacation
The power of mantras
Opposite sides of the same coin
For some, it’s nearly impossible
Explore the three sub-types
Ignore it at your peril
Not always simple to answer