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It’s near the end of the year, and you’ve come in for a typical Thursday at work. But halfway through the morning, one of your managers has a meltdown and yells at his team for a minor mistake, then begins madly drinking Maalox right out of the bottle. When you pull him aside to ask what’s wrong, he grits out that he’s “just a little stressed, but everything’s fine.” As you go over your agenda for the week, you remember the enormous project he’s in charge of is due on Monday. Yes, you have one burnt out employee … and he’s probably not alone. So, how do you recognize the signs and, equally important, help alleviate that feeling?

  • Know the signs. The three major components of burnout include exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. Exhaustion in this case means a person’s emotional tank has run dry and they can’t cope with their work environment. Cynicism defines the negative feeling toward the job: the disgruntled employee. Inefficacy combines with cynicism: The employee feels frustrated and stressed out and has stopped trying. When you start to see some of these, taking action right away, rather than letting things play out and hoping for the best will help both you and your employees.
  • Know the reasons. What causes the signs mentioned above? There are a few major factors. Most often burnout comes from a pretty standard reason: being overworked. Figure out whether that comes from unreasonable expectations from higher up, a poor manager or even self-created stress (perhaps that person took on too much and needs to take something off their plate). Another factor may involve outside stressors; perhaps there’s a difficult home situation, such as taking care of an ailing family member, that’s making an employee feel overwhelmed. Whatever the case, getting to the root of the problem allows you to help that employee find ways to alleviate the feeling of burnout.
  • What to do. When an employee is feeling burned out, talk to them about balance. Proving themselves as a hardworking employee by overexerting themselves can only last for so long. Help them delegate or create a plan to get things done. You may also want to look at how managers are dealing with their teams: Are they delegating appropriately and creating organized plans for project deadlines? Talk as needed about how best to utilize everyone’s talents so team members feel properly utilized but not overworked. And you may even want to switch things up. Try varying the types of projects you assign so employees feel they’re doing something new, and make sure you include them in the conversation.

Burnout happens but it can be avoided. For advice on how to help your employees or finding your next great hire, work with PrideStaff.

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