Extended levels of stress and/or frustration plays a key role in burnout.
PHOTO © ROBERT KNESCHKE, ADOBE STOCK

Are you or members of your team continually stressed out? Do you worry about burning out? Are you confident in your ability to recognize symptoms of burnout in yourself and others?

Extended periods of stress and/or frustration, often caused by having too much to do, plays a key role in burnout. Stressed individuals tend to be easily frustrated, take things personally and be either agitated or emotionally shut down. Highly stressed and burned out employees negatively impact morale, customer service and the bottom line.

The following are symptoms of burnout:

  • Physical and/or emotional exhaustion or numbness
  • Loss of motivation
  • Ineffectiveness
  • Feeling overworked, overwhelmed or underappreciated
  • Feeling cynical, frustrated or other negative emotions
  • Difficulty concentrating, solving problems and making decisions
  • Experiencing anxiety, anger and depression
  • Increased pessimism
  • Increased conflicts or withdrawal from relationships
  • Health problems, insomnia or increased absenteeism
  • Failure to take care of self physically
  • Self-medicating
  • Unable to shut down when away from work
  • Lack of enthusiasm about work or life
  • Decreased levels of satisfaction

As someone who has personally suffered burnout, I assure you it is far easier to avoid burnout than it is to overcome it. If you or someone you supervise has one symptom, it’s a concern that deserves attention. The greater the number of symptoms, the more critical the concern and need to take immediate action. Things to immediately start doing:

1. Work with a therapist who specializes in burnout. Don’t try to overcome burnout on your own or ask others to do so, either. When someone is burned out, they experience impaired thinking and lack the required reserves and resources to overcome it easily. Working with a highly trained professional is equivalent to flying to a destination. It’s the quickest form of transportation with the fewest detours and least amount of wear and tear.

2. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Consume plenty of water and nutrient-rich food, and get sleep so that you aren’t burning the candle at both ends. Make time for fun. Encourage employees to do the same.

3. Regularly express appreciation. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are far less likely to be stressed or burned out than those treated as though they are expendable.

4. Ensure everyone carries their load. Overlooking slackers increases the work and pressure on your high performers. In addition to frustrating and demotivating employees, it leads to ongoing stress and burnout.

5. Address problems as they arise. Unresolved problems and ongoing arguments drain energy and take a toll on productivity and work satisfaction. When an employee is unhappy, initiate a conversation. Find out what’s wrong and what you can do to help.

Great leaders constantly scan the horizon and head problems off at the pass. Keep tabs on how you and those you lead are feeling and faring, and you will encounter fewer problems. Even better, you’ll have the joy of leading a far happier, healthier and more productive team.