“I don’t have stress, but may be a carrier.”
— Erma Bombeck
As company leaders look for ways to turn the tide on the great resignation, one factor may have been overlooked: burnout. It not only contributes to an employee’s decision to leave, it also significantly impacts their health and wellness. According to a recent study, at least 72% of managers say they’re suffering from burnout. Before the pandemic, that number was only 42%.
Managers are working longer hours, feeling pressure to work even when sick, and taking less time off. Over the past three years alone, burnout has increased so dramatically that the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled it as impacting health status.
WHO characterized burnout as:
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
- increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
- reduced professional efficacy/
Managers in the middle are especially prone to internalizing pressure from their bosses and taking on their employees’ feelings of stress. It can feel like being caught in a vice grip. Many managers are aware of their mood leaking on others. In fact, 84% say they feel at least partially responsible for causing high levels of stress and burnout in others. With added pressures of inflation, economic uncertainty, political polarities, racial unrest, hybrid work environments and greater complexity, leaders need to consider how to help managers (and themselves) identify and reduce stress.
Here are suggestions for how to support and encourage your managers (and yourself):
💡Conduct a self-assessment. (Use this link to take Innolect’s “Are You Facing Burnout?” Checklist)
💡Make an appointment with a health professional. Check-in to see if there is a physical reason for some of your symptoms.
💡Build in margin or take breaks. Step away from the computer, schedule shorter meetings with breaks in between, walk at least 150-250 steps per hour.
💡Practice mindfulness. Consider how to be present using tools of meditation, prayer, and deep breathing to enhance thinking, calm the mind and generate a sense of peace.
💡Practice self-care. Exercise, dance, move and stretch for an emotional boost.
💡Eliminate or reduce interactions with negative or toxic people. Seek out those individuals who are supportive, listen with empathy and give energy.
💡Acknowledge when you feel stressed and speak up about what you’re observing in others. Rather than hiding your stress, choose to be vulnerable with others. It builds trust, permission to be open, and leads to better business outcomes.
By taking positive steps to identify stressors and symptoms of burnout, leaders are in the best position to support their employees and increase well-being across the organization.
For more information, contact:
Kittie W. Watson, Ph.D.
President and Founder