Preventing Burnout: More on What Managers Can Do

A previous post considered ways in which leaders can manage to reduce the potential for burnout among their employees. One additional strategy to add to that list is looking after oneself.

The data show that a good predictor of burnout among team members is the burnout level of the leader. Leader and member burnout tend to rise and fall together. So, looking after oneself could be an effective strategy for preventing burnout within a workgroup.

This approach requires some thoughtful consideration.

One reason that leaders and team members have similar levels of burnout is that they share a lot of their work experience. They are in the same setting, encountering the same group culture of civility or incivility, and addressing the same demands. Leaders have a distinct involvement in the team’s workflow, but much is shared despite these distinctions.

So, if the team is confronting excessive workload, a team leader will not help the team by neglecting some tasks, relegating them to the team. That may grant some relief to the leader but will worsen things for the team (which in turn will create more work for the leader). If the team is confronting a major value conflict, such as efficiency v service quality, the leader will not help by ignoring these conflicts: leaders have a clear role in addressing such challenges.

What To Do

The central point is that the whole team will benefit from the leader working actively with team members to implement burnout prevention strategies. This is not something that a leader does selflessly for the team members, but a way of realigning the team, including the leader, to have a more sustainable worklife. Attending to one another, eliminating low value activities, and keeping values alive are equally relevant for leaders as well as team members.

These strategies are not the whole story, but they are a good start towards a more resilient workgroup.

This entry was posted in benefits, Burnout, Dysfunctional Groups, Empowerment, resiliency, Respect, Work Engagement, Workgroups and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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Canada’s answer to improving worklife!

Michael Leiter

Dr. Michael Leiter, co-author of Banishing Burnout and The Truth about Burnout, is set to release his newest book on Work Engagement. Dr. Leiter founded the Canadian Centre for Organizational Research & Development and has researched organizational behaviour for more than two decades. He knows how to improve an organization’s bottom line (productivity and profitability by improving its top line - people. In fact, he and his co-author coined the term "work engagement" as the antithesis to burnout!

Over the years, Dr. Leiter has worked closely with a host of researchers, including Dr. Christine Maslach, creator of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), and most recently, with Dr. Arnold Bakker on work engagement. Now, through work with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) - the largest integrated health care system in the U.S. - Dr. Leiter has the CREW Solution.

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