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Sol Maya Trickey on the Unexpected Source of Employee Burnout

A Shocking Cause of Employee Burnout For a long time, businesses have been eager to find out what causes the worst cases of employee burnout. A number of factors have been suggested. Some experts pointed to poor work/life balance. Others pointed to the workload an employee might have to shoulder. Still others suggested that life […]

A Shocking Cause of Employee Burnout

For a long time, businesses have been eager to find out what causes the worst cases of employee burnout. A number of factors have been suggested. Some experts pointed to poor work/life balance. Others pointed to the workload an employee might have to shoulder. Still others suggested that life is just too stressful overall these days. People are commuting farther than ever for work, and have less time to spend with their families. Meanwhile, wages in many industries still haven’t recovered from the 2008 slump.

However, the latest research shows that one surprising factor may be at work. It all comes down to leadership. While narcissistic traits can benefit leaders in many ways, they are also having the effect of turning employees off. Many employees feel that their bosses ask for too much. They don’t feel noticed, respected or heard. Now, one school of thought might say that employees should just get over their ego. Leadership figures take on a lot of risk in being the face of a department or company. And they are important. But asking employees to recalibrate their expectations isn’t a realistic answer, especially when the cost of this issue becomes apparent.

Firstly, employees who don’t feel valued look for greener pastures. Even if the work done by some employees is considered unskilled, it’s expensive to replace people. Hiring and onboarding people is expensive in terms of not just money, but other resources like time. Another important issue is that employees say they don’t want to contribute ideas in an environment with narcissistic bosses. This means that businesses could literally be losing a competitive edge. It’s important that in today’s rapidly changing marketplace, employees be able to share ideas. Disruption is the name of the game in every industry right now.

Leaders need to remember that an open-door policy isn’t just a catchphrase. Employees need to feel comfortable in sharing ideas for improvements. Active listening skills and even mindfulness skills can be very important tools to help management picking up on the actual temperature of the workplaces they run. The most effective leaders make it a point to inspire and share with more junior employees. In today’s competitive atmosphere, it’s important to ensure that employees feel they matter.

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