What Leaders Need to Know About Burnout

Greg Pellizzon shares some helpful tips on leadership and burnout.

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We hear a lot about burnout in 2020, but how concerned do leaders need to be about this buzzword? Here are three things that all leaders need to know about burnout. 

Burnout is real.

Burnout is more than a buzzword. The World Health Organization has deemed it an “occupational phenomenon” that results from chronic stress in the workplace. And no one is immune — anyone subjected to chronic stress is at risk for burning out.

Furthermore, burnout isn’t merely about feeling tired. Burnout is a state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion that persists, regardless of how much rest you get. Symptoms vary, but most people who burn out report feeling less efficient, struggling to concentrate, or to accomplish even small tasks. Many also feel irritable toward their coworkers.

Burnout is a roadblock that is not easy to overcome.

Many people are aware of the risk of burnout, but choose to ignore them. They accept that the risk is real but assume that they will be able to deal with burnout if it happens. The problem here is that, although you can recover, burnout should not be taken lightly. It’s much easier to prevent burnout than it is to recover from it. Once a person burns out, they could be experiencing symptoms ranging from physical ailments to a complete distaste for their job. 

If you’re concerned about reducing your workload to prevent burnout, consider this: Recovering from burnout almost always requires time off of work. It’s better to avoid burnout by lightening the load now than to wait and need several weeks off later. 

Preventing burnout in the workplace starts with leaders.

As a leader in your organization, you set the tone for the workplace. Leaders need to lead by example and prevent themselves from burning out. If you prioritize your own wellbeing, your team members will be more likely to prioritize theirs as well. 

It’s also critical for leaders to have conversations about burnout. Talk about it often, and make yourself accessible to any team members who are struggling. Burnout should not carry a stigma. It is real, it is a problem, and it needs to be discussed. Let the prevention start with you. 

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