Many leaders are dealing with employees that are experiencing burn out. With the rise in virtual work, the lines between work life balance are blurred. In order to have a healthy workplace and engaged teams, employers need to be more mindful of ways to mitigate employee burnout.
People begin to feel overwhelmed. People feel that they just can’t produce as much. So when you’re dealing with a team member who is experiencing burnout, they are typically slower to respond or produce. While in a burnout state, every step seems like climbing a mountain. There’s only so much that they feel they can do.
Therefore, you get progressively slower and achieve less efficient results. There are specific things that leaders can do in order to help team members that are experiencing burnout. So, if you’re dealing with an employee that seems to be experiencing burnout, here are five tips to help handle the situation.
Burnout can be defined as a chronic condition due to prolonged exposure to stress with the absence of effective coping mechanisms. Burnout consists of the various symptoms among which are energy loss or exhausted feelings, negative thoughts or reluctance in relation to your work or decreased productivity.
Stress generally is in reference to one’s psychological or emotional state. It’s when you encounter a lot of tension that come from difficult situations and high pressure conditions. Stress is a temporary and fleeting experience, whereas burnout is a more chronic condition that results from long-term exposure to heightened levels of tension and stress.
Those who feel underpaid and undervalued are at risk to burnout. From the hardworking executive assistant who hasn’t taken a vacation in 3 years to the programmer working 16 hours straight, burnout comes in all shapes and sizes. Burnout doesn’t just happen from stress or excessive responsibility alone. It is a factor in the burnout of your body, such as your habits or character traits. What we do during our downtime and how we view our world can actually cause more stress than work alone.
TIP ONE: UNDERSTAND THE TEAM MEMBER’S WORKLOAD
Often, leaders are not fully clear on what the workload for each member is. Some team members take on the tasks of other employees. Some assume responsibilities, and the leaders are not one-hundred percent clear on the complexity of those tasks.
So, the first thing you should do is get really clear on the workload of every employee. You do that by asking questions. Once you are clear on what the workload is, you can delegate that workload in a way that someone who is experiencing burnout would have a little bit less to do while they recover.
TIP TWO: REASSIGN PART OF THE WORKLOAD FOR THE OVERWHELMED MEMBER
If one member of your team is overwhelmed and experiencing burnout, assigning another employee will enable the team to continue to flourish. If there is a certain number of tasks that a member needs to accomplish, you expect them to produce or to submit those. If he or she is unable at any given period, helping them focus on the most important, will allow the other jobs to be passed down to other members.
Helping members make quick, two-second decisions to determine which is most important and which can or should be delegated. This ensures key members are not spending major time on minor things.
TIP THREE: PRIORITIZE AND PROVIDE ADEQUATE INSTRUCTIONS
The next tip has to do with clarity. Because when you are not clear on what you are asking your people to do, you’re guaranteed to confuse them. When a person is experiencing burnout and feels that it’s hard to produce, it becomes more difficult when they also have to figure out what you mean and what exactly you expect.
The best thing that you can do is to be very clear with your instructions and make sure that your employee fully understands your expectations regarding what you want and when you want it. Clarity with team members reduces stress for the entire team, including the leaders. To be clear, you may want to write down exactly what you expect of your team.
TIP FOUR: MANAGE YOUR OWN STRESS
The fourth tip is that you need to need to manage your own stress. Sometimes, the leaders also go through burnout. They may be tired, overworked, and overwhelmed. They are stressed. They themselves are dealing with working from home and the stress in their own personal life and work stress. So what you get, is overwhelmed leaders leading overwhelmed team members. That is not a recipe for success.
To care for others, you need to care for yourself. You need to manage your own stress and wellbeing. Once you are calm. Once you took care of yourself, and you’ve prioritized your well-being, then you are in a position to lead others. If you feel that you are so overwhelmed and burned out that you just can’t be in a position to lead and be patient or accepting with someone else today, then do less today. Take care of yourself.
Then do more tomorrow.
TIP FIVE FOR AVOIDING EMPLOYEE BURNOUT: EMPOWER AND SUPPORTING YOUR TEAM MEMBERS
Nothing works better for someone who is overwhelmed or burned out than empowerment. This could be in the form of one kind word, one kind sentence, or something that makes them feel good about themselves.
The best gift that you can provide when someone is overwhelmed, is to mention that you recognize their efforts. It will make all the difference in the world. When you empower someone with recognition, with being thankful for what they do; you give them the power to rebuild their strength to the point that they are once again, who they are and they produce what they’re capable of producing.
Ultimately, by understanding the individual limits of your employees and offering sufficient instruction and support, you will go a long way toward ensuring the efficiency and safety of each of your staff members and your company. Truthfully, a business is only as strong as its weakest link. Fortifying that link is more cost-effective than replacing that individual and training a new person.