Tackling Burn-out

Way back in May of 2019, long before COVID-19 hit us, the World Health Organization identified burn-out as an occupational phenomenon resulting from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

The WHO says burn-out is characterized by three dimensions:

  1. feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  2. increased mental distance from one’s job, feeling negativity or cynicism towards the job
  3. reduced professional efficacy (not feeling capable to perform duties)

Stress on the job is real – we can’t eliminate it. But burn-out occurs when we don’t do something to address it!

I wonder… what would it look like to “successfully manage” burn-out? How could an organization know how to make someone feel like they are capable to perform their duties (high efficacy), to make them less negative or cynical about their work, or to make them feel less depleted and have some energy again? Its likely different for every individual.

So let’s break it down – what would make a difference for you? Why not share that idea with your boss? It may be the greatest gift you could give to yourself, to your team, and to your organization. Knowledge is power.

Can you imagine being able to say to a friend – “Work is really stressful right now – but guess what my boss did the other day… !” An empathetic leader can make a world of difference.

What could YOU do, as a leader, to reduce some stress for your team?

Thinking back over my career – there were good days and bad – what I remember most are the moments when someone said or did something kind, cut me some slack, or offered to help in some way. Those moments are especially memorable during those times when I was struggling and needed some compassion.

Remember Maya Angelou’s famous quote: “… people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I encourage you to think about this today – as you go about your amazing work in care of patients, or serving customers, in leading your team or spending time with loved ones … what moments are you creating for those around you?

And what might you need, to ease the burden on yourself and your workplace? Please share your good ideas, it may be the tiny ripple that leads to a much bigger change. It may also help someone that you care about, feel less burned out, and provide better care. And for that, we thank you!

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