Beating Burnout.



Burnout man with hands in hair

Ever feel like your feet are moving faster than your body can carry you?


I’ve been talking to lots of you who seem to be moving at an ever-increasing speed. Imagery of hamster wheels, treadmills and spinning tops all come to mind.


Now, if your movement is controlled, moving at speed isn’t bad per se. The pressure becomes a negative factor when you start to lose control of the speed. This lack of control could be a sign of burnout.


Burnout is a state of ‘Emotional Exhaustion, Cynicism, Ineffectiveness - Chronic Negative response to stressful workplace’. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially recognized workplace burnout as a medical condition. It is a mental health issue.


Just for clarity let’s consider the difference between stress and burnout. Stress, by and large, involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much of you physically and mentally. Burnout, on the other hand, is about not enough: feeling empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation—beyond caring.


In a recent Deloitte survey

  • 84% of people have experienced employee burnout in their current job,

  • 91% have an unmanageable amount of stress

  • 83% say burnout negatively impacts their personal relationships

The most worrying number is smaller but has greater impact both on the person but also on our businesses.

  • 50% have left a job because of burnout

Now in today’s job market this is a number we don’t want to see. The impact on business can also be measured in financial terms. According to Gallup disengaged employees have increased absenteeism (37%), lower productivity (18%) and lower profitability (15%). Do the math, what that might mean for your team, your business?


The Top 3 signs of burn out are

Decreased Productivity And Performance,

Increased Cynicism Towards Coworkers & Clients,

Detached From The Company.


We need to spot the signs in ourselves and in our teams. Have you noticed any of the following in your team?

  • Reduced efficiency and energy

  • Lower productivity. (More time spent working with less being accomplished.)

  • Changes in attitude

  • Lowered levels of motivation

  • Increased errors

  • Fatigue

  • Irritability/ Increased frustration

  • Suspiciousness

I have a Self Diagnoses Questionnaire. If you would like to see it send me an email and I’ll send it through to you.

It's important that you don't lie to yourself. If you lie to yourself, you end up with burnout

- Patrick Pichette

Burnout can happen to anyone, at any level. It’s not picky. Especially vulnerable to burnout are those who expect too much of themselves, those who don’t feel appreciated for their work and those that don’t feel their work is ever good enough. You need to watch over achievers as well. They say yes to everything and are generally high performers. They can sometime get caught out with burnout.


Whatever the reasons for this increased burnout we need to tackle it. Recovery from burnout is possible. On average it takes between 6-9 months, but in serious cases it can take up to 2 years.


As leaders I believe we need to focus helping in 3 areas

  1. Mindset – we need to help the person affected by burnout think more positively, avoid criticizing themselves and nuture of spirit of reflection, gratitude and peace.

  2. Work – helping the person to work at a steady pace, focusing on one thing at a time, breaking down overwhelming tasks into smaller projects. We have to help them change how they think and do work.

  3. Relationships – we must help them improve relationships. By avoiding toxic people, shutting out social media that upsets and setting boundaries so its OK to say ‘no’.

Prevention is better than cure. The best thing we can do is prevent ourselves and our teams from getting burnout in the first place. Proactively managing the team to focus more on the positive and what can be done alongside implementing ongoing health and wellbeing strategies in the workplace will help. As a leader we need to reprioritize your teams workload, encourage them to take breaks, connect them with others in the team, improve skills and implement wellness strategies. All these things will slow down the build-up of burnout.


Here are 12 things you can do today to help your team

  1. Provide clear expectations for all employees and obtain confirmation that each employee understands those expectations.

  2. Make sure employees have the necessary resources and skills to meet expectations.

  3. Provide ongoing training to employees to maintain competency.

  4. Help employees understand their value to the organization and their contributions to the organization's goals.

  5. Enforce reasonable work hours, including, if necessary, sending employees without good boundaries home at the end of their regular work day.

  6. Help assess workload for those who feel pressured to remain working beyond normal business hours.

  7. Set reasonable and realistic expectations. Organizations should be clear as to which activities require the highest standards and when it is okay to lower the bar and still meet business needs.

  8. Encourage social support and respect within and among work teams.

  9. Support physical activity throughout the workday.

  10. Be available and listen

  11. Strongly encourage the taking of breaks away from the work environment.

  12. Consider how leadership approaches might impact employees at risk of burnout.

The land of burnout is not a place I ever want to go back to - Arianna Huffington

Burnout is an ever increasing problem in our business world today. The way we’ve work through covid hasn’t helped some. We need to spot it, tackle it and prevent it from happening more often that we are today.


If you are interested in learning more about burnout, I have a 1hr team presentation which I can run for your business. Just email for details.

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