5 Warning signs that you or your senior leaders may be suffering from burnout:
1. Emotional exhaustion
2. Reduced feelings of personal accomplishment
3. Feeling worn out, tired and emotionally drained
4. Feeling increasingly cynical, dissatisfied and detached from work
5. A general lack of motivation and confidence
In research published this month by the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology (OP Matters, No 26, June 2015 by Evie Michalidis), findings show alarming evidence that employees who are feeling burnt out engage in poorer decision making, either by avoiding making decisions altogether as a result of being emotionally exhausted and having ‘checked out’, or by making spontaneous and irrational decisions. Those suffering from burn-out often reach and take riskier options without comprehensively analysing and evaluating alternatives due to underestimating the seriousness of consequences if things go wrong – they may feel ‘beyond caring’.
So…preventing burnout is obviously in everyone’s interests – working employees to the point of burnout is patently risky, not only from a mental health perspective but also, as this new evidence suggests, because of the suboptimal decisions that managers and leaders will make for and on behalf of the business when they are in this state. Therefore strategies such as slowing down the pace of work, encouraging a culture of regular micro-breaks to allow recovery and restoration throughout the day, taking leave, sick leave or even temporary leave of absence – anything to remove people from situations that are depleting them to the point of adopting irrational, impulsive or avoidant decision-making styles.
Getting support from others, and simply providing the opportunity for sharing feelings and thoughts will also relieve the risk of burnout – the GLWS (Global Leadership Wellbeing survey) provides a ground breaking approach to help leaders and their teams open up and start talking about the issues raised here.
Self-care at work is not a luxury: it’s a necessity for individuals, teams, productivity and good business decisions.