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The Truth About Burnout

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in HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Hundreds of books exist on motivational skills and team dynamics. But The Truth About Burnout (Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1997) doesn’t try to give you rosy formulas on how to be a warm, fuzzy manager of a happy, blissful office. It examines a problem—burnout—that usually goes undiagnosed or untreated.

The authors, Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter, go beyond offering tips on how individuals can prevent burnout. Instead, they focus on helping organizations devise strategies to help employees avoid losing their enthusiasm and zest for work. The authors identify some of the major management mistakes that lead to burnout:

Too much work. Many talented managers like to accumulate responsibility. But there’s a point at which even the most resilient workers can grow exhausted and cynical because their employer expects too much from them.

Lack of control. When employees must interact with angry customers on a daily basis, that can lead to burnout. It gets worse when an organization doesn’t empower its people to fix what’s broken. That leaves potentially valuable employees resentful that they can’t stop the tide of abuse they have to take from justifiably irritated customers.

Lack of respect. Employers who fail to recognize hard workers or neglect to offer sufficient rewards for jobs well done produce dissatisfied and worn out employees. When the team puts out exceptional effort, it deserves at least some acknowledgment from the boss. You can bet they’ll burn out if they feel they’re ignored or unappreciated.

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