Burnout – 8 top tips/questions to ask about yourself or your team

Batman riding a small elephant 1967

A blog post I came across from the LSE Business Review looks at what research says about how to reduce burnout.  It defines burnout as follows ….

“a situation in which employees are emotionally exhausted (drained and lacking energy,) and depersonalised, that is, they have developed a cynical attitude towards their job and the people associated with it — customers or clients”

Based on what the original post post says about the causes of burnout and strategies to alleviate it, (plus some other input), I have summarised the essence of the post into seven top tips on burnout.  Each tip is followed by one or more questions to ask yourself – as an individual assessing your own situation – or as a member of a team considering your own and your colleagues susceptibility to burnout.

Top Tip: Increased sick leave, absenteeism and turnover are all indicators of burnout. 

1) How are these reported, recorded and reviewed?

Top Tip: Overload, conflict and ambiguity in a role can all increase the likelihood of burnout.

2) Is there regularly too much work and too little time or resource to do it?

3) Does a role have contradictory requirements and/or competing demands?

4) Does a role have a lack of specificity or predictability?

( I realise the irony of asking vicars the 3 questions above – doesn’t a Yes response come with the territory?  Why not try listing specific examples to your Yes answers to help ID particular sources of overload, conflict or ambiguity?)

Top Tip: Certain personality traits are said to increase the likelihood of burnout.

5) How far do the individuals exhibit the following personality traits – perfectionism, pessimism, a strong excitable response to stress, impatience with people and life’s minor hassles?

Top Tip: Cognitive behavioural therapy, coaching and resilience training are some examples of individual strategies to alleviate burnout.

6) How aware are people of these or other individual strategies?

Top Tip: The following Human Resource practices can alleviate burnout: increasing people’s empowerment; sharing information with them on what is going on; giving them input into decision making; giving formal non-monetary recognition for exceptional contributions; training and developing them so they can improve their skills.

7) How far are these practices evident in your team?

Other useful links on this subject

– another LSE blog post on this subject – How to avoid burnout when you follow your passion in your career choice – in summary: Sustaining your calling: Balance idealism and pragmatism; Focus on viable goals; Don’t isolate yourself; Have a rich life outside of work.  Supporting your called employees: Calibrate candidates’ expectations;  Channel passion into constructive outlets; Keep on it.



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