Welcome back practicing leaders. Today, we're going to talk about a topic, which affects many of us, burnout, whether you're an employee or manager, understanding burnout and how to deal with it is crucial for maintaining a healthy work life balance. This is the practicing leader podcast. I'm your host, Parul Bhargava, and let's discuss.
let's go ahead and start off with, let's define what is burnout. When I think about burnout myself, I think about it as. The state of which, where you get to a place where you have chronic or periodic physical and emotional exhaustion is often accompanied by feelings of ineffectiveness, or you're feeling like you're not accomplished, or it's the level of cynicism that's attached to it.
It typically occurs when work demands exceed what your capacity to cope is, and it can be influenced by both your personal and organizational factors. And this could mean stuff that's going on at home, it could be stuff that's going on at work, it could be stuff that's going on in your organization. You name it.
Fundamentally, it ends up in this place where you feel as if it's just too much. So let's look at some classic signs of burnout. Things that you could indicate that you're experiencing it yourself. These could be feelings of constantly exhausted, having a sense of inefficiency, ineffectiveness, we talked about this a little bit earlier.
And despite your best efforts, despite all the things that you're doing, you're finding like you've not accomplished as much as you thought you should have. And this ends up in this cyclical pattern of a negative attitude towards your job. Paying attention to these signs is essential in recognizing and then functionally addressing burnout.
Because until you acknowledge that there is a problem there, how are you going to do anything about it? It would be very easy for us in that state to be able to say, you know what, me being burned out is a responsibility of my manager or of my organization or the company I work for, it would be too easy to do that.
My suggestion is that there's some level of ownership that you can take in all of this, and here's some suggestions of things that you can do to try to help limit what the impacts of burnout are on yourself. Number one, what we could try to do here is adopt an ownership mentality or mindset. Recognize that you're in control of your own destiny, that you have the power to make changes in your work environment.
Take the responsibility for your own well being. This might involve setting boundaries, communicating your needs, or seeking support as necessary. Next, challenge the assumptions about the work that you're doing. Question the prevailing beliefs, question how things are functionally working, question the norms about how work could be done, and use that to identify areas that may contribute to burnout.
Making small changes that are aligned with your needs. Can have a significant impact on your own well being and satisfaction with your job. Don't just leave it up to chance. Don't leave it up to what you thought you understood about how something had to function. Take the time to think about it and say, okay, here's how it's going to be different.
And here's how I'm going to change it. And be able to challenge all the assumptions that you've made about how your job functions. Next, reflect on how your job is aligned with work schedules, constraints, future prospects, or future investments, and take the time to assess whether your current job aligns with what your long term values are and your long term goals.
When you look at these factors, you may find that certain things are hindering you from meeting your long term goals, and you want to explore opportunities for growth and career development, whether it be taking time to go take a class, take time to go look at how do you train yourself further in order to be able to be more effective or more efficient, whatever the case might be, you want to take the time to be able to reflect on the job itself and see how you can fit those things together.
Number four, if there are flexible work arrangements available in the place that you work, take advantage. If your organization offers it, whether it be remote work or flexible hours, consider utilizing them to create a better work life balance for yourself and effectively reduce the stress for yourself.
Number five, recognizing that even if we enjoy our work, there's still a risk of burnout. And the way it happens is by depleting your reserves and then ending up in a state where you're actually burnt out, effectively burning the candle at both ends. A great example of this is even with this podcast, I haven't released one in the past two weeks because you know what.
I took a week to go take a vacation as well as I took some time to say, you know what, I'd like to invest the time that I've got spending time with my wife and spending time doing diamond painting and just taking time for myself. It doesn't mean that I don't enjoy doing the podcast. It just means that, you know what, I sensed that I was depleting my own reserves and I needed to take a moment to say, you know what, let me take a moment for myself and invest in myself.
By taking the time to have those self care practices in place. Setting those boundaries for myself and seeking the support in this case for my wife. It helped me maintain well being in the long run. If you're a practicing leader and you're a manager, and your employees are reporting to you that they're feeling burnt out, here's some strategies you can employ to help address the issue.
1st, help set clear boundaries and address issues promptly by establishing limits and addressing concerns. You're creating a healthy work environment. If someone brings something up to you, do something about it and do it promptly. Don't let it linger. Don't let it sit there. Don't let it wait there. Take corrective action against it.
Take the time to make sure that your people have the opportunity for professional development and growth. If people feel like they have time to learn, they're going to continue to grow. This can enhance job satisfaction as well as increase motivation while reducing the likelihood of burnout. If your company has the ability to be able to set up flexible work hours or flexible work arrangements, make sure that your people understand that you're supportive of that.
Because it's too easy for people to feel like, yeah, I know we've got the flexible work policy, but is my manager going to be okay with it? Is that going to be, is that going to be supported? This is where stating your support for people using the flexible work options is important. Next, encourage regular breaks and time off.
When people take the time to take a break, it gives them a chance to build a recharge and rejuvenate. This leads to increased productivity and well being. Fundamentally, taking breaks helps employees recharge and rejuvenate, and it will lead to increased productivity as well as better well being for the employee.
Make sure you're taking the time to make sure they're taking the time for themselves. Next, recognize and appreciate your employees contributions and achievements. The thing that we've gotten the power to do is to be able to provide timely and prompt feedback to our employees to help them understand that the work that they do is both valued as well as being done well.
Take the moment to be able to provide that feedback and make it concrete for them so that way they know that they're seen. And finally, lead by example. When you take the time for yourself and your people see you take time, they will also feel comfortable in doing so. Because the thing they're going to be watching for is what kind of behavior do you model?
If you're not taking time off, they will likely mirror the same behavior that you're actually exhibiting. So make sure that you're leading by example. And to wrap all this up, remember burnout is a serious issue and it affects many of us. You're not alone in this. By understanding its signs and taking proactive steps, both as individuals and as managers, we can work towards preventing and managing burnout effectively.
This is where whatever we can do to try to help one another, to try to not experience this, we should try to do.