Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Over 60% of American workers report being burnt out some or most of the time. In this episode, Jeff welcomes David McGlennen back to The Champion Forum to discuss the causes of burnout and what both companies and individuals can do to help prevent and remedy burnout. Additionally, they discuss the long term impact of burnout and how you can structure your life so that your work and personal lives complement, rather than compete with, each other.
What is the source of burnout?
Many people are unwilling or unsure how to say “no.” Highly successful people say “no” to more than they say “yes.” They know that when you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no,” to something else. Additionally, an employee might feel burnt out if they are in a culture they are not aligned with or if they are incapable of performing the tasks they are assigned to do.
Leaders can help set the tone by showing their team members how to say no and set healthy boundaries.
Ex. Send emails only during work hours so that people do not assume they are supposed to be working after hours.
Q: Describe a time when you felt burnt-out. What was the cause of your burnout? What is a healthy boundary you could set to make sure that you don’t get burnt out again? How could you encourage your peers or team to set a similar boundary?
Who is at fault when people are burnt-out?
Leaders have a responsibility to be assertive without being aggressive. They need to create an environment where people are willing to give them honest feedback. It is important that they pay attention to their employees and be willing to acknowledge when they are not doing well. If you find that you have a team member who is burnt out, find a way to help them get the rest they need. When you do, you will earn the loyalty, trust, and love of your team. Leaders should also be willing to have hard conversations with people who seem burnt-out because they are not a good fit either for the company or the position and help them find a job that is a better fit.
Each individual has a responsibility to speak up when too much is being expected of them and ask for feedback on which responsibilities take the top priority. They also need to take care of themselves and find ways to relax.
Q: Who do you think holds the primary responsibility for making sure people are not being burnt out? The individual or the leader? Describe a time when a leader helped you or one of your peers when they were feeling burnt out. What did they do to help? If you were to help one of your team members who was feeling burnt out, what would you suggest they do and how would you help them do it?
What about stressful seasons?
Some businesses have times of year that are more busy than others, such as tax season, open enrollment for insurance, or tourist season. Sometimes you can’t change the pressure or the environment, but you can change what you are doing as the leader. By improving your communication, you can turn an unbearable situation into an uncomfortable one. You cannot pay someone enough to make them not burn out. However, paying your team fairly will help them stick through a difficult season.
Q: Is there a specific time of year that is most challenging for your company? How have you dealt with that stress and pressure in the past? What do you think you can do as a leader to help other people when that season comes around this year?
How can you avoid burnout?
Identify your values and make sure they align with the company you are working for. Do not stay in a place that is a bad fit.
Make white space in your calendar to allow time to process and relax.
Decide on what activities are non-negotiables (ie. dinner with family, exercise, child’s recital, etc.) and protect these activities.
Be humble and aware of your situation. Denial and pride will accelerate burnout.
Find a routine for taking care of your body.
Delegate your weaknesses and spend your time on the tasks that give you the biggest return on your investment.
Practice mindfulness to help you keep your mind focused on work when you are at work and home when you are at home.
Don’t be afraid to do nothing other than enjoy your surroundings.
Be intentional by understanding where your giftings are.
Focus on where you have a choice instead of focusing on what is out of your control.
Q: What else would you add to this list? Have any of these strategies helped you in the past? Share your experiences with your team or peer group.
Practice mindfulness by taking more control over your thoughts on a day-to-day basis. Creating a more positive outlook on your life can help you avoid burnout. One way you can retrain your mind to think positively is to pause every time you have a negative thought, recognize it as negative, release the negativity, and replace it with a positive thought or gratitude.
Taking care of your physical body is a good way to help reduce the effects of burnout or even prevent it. Decide to do something every day for the next 7 days to help your physical body. You could go to the gym, take a 15-minute walk after lunch, or make healthier food choices. If you can, keep your new habit going for another week, then a month! Soon you will have a new healthy routine.
If you lead a team, look at the responsibilities each person has along with any new projects you are going to assign over the next few months. Is there a better way to spread the work around? Do you need to add another person to your team? Is there a project that can be put off for a few weeks or months to stabilize the workload? Do what you can to address these areas, and if there is a situation that is unavoidable, schedule time to check in with the employees who are affected and help create space for them to take time off after their major deadlines have been met.