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The majority of managers want a motivated and productive workforce, but it’s a common error to push your team too far beyond their limits. Find out how to prevent physical and emotional burnout from occurring in your team.
Many people think of ‘burnout’ as solely related to how much they work and that taking some time off will relieve feelings of overwhelm and pressure, and they’ll bounce back to work feeling refreshed and renewed.
Burnout is caused by a number of factors and is unlikely to be resolved by taking a break. One of the most important contributors to a person’s wellbeing at work is the relationship they have with their line manager. As ‘burnout’ has been classified as a workplace phenomenon by the World Health Organization (2019), support at work is essential if we are to curb the rising of tide of overwhelm within the workplace.
It's useful on an individual level, and in your capacity as a line manager to pinpoint exactly what your team are feeling and the factors that are contributing to this. This will enable you to provide the specific support they will find most useful and encourage them to look after their own health and wellbeing.
The role of the manager is critical in assessing and addressing employee burnout. Here are some specific tips to support you in navigating and preventing burnout in your team
Research has indicated the six areas that, when left unchecked, can lead to burnout. Recognising how these areas are impacting your team can give you a good steer to make improvements:
If you notice that someone isn’t acting or performing in the way they usually do, start a conversation to give you both the opportunity to explore the reasons and identify what support will be helpful. The common indicators are:
Use 1:1 opportunities to start exploring what might be driving any difficulty. If your conversations with individuals are purely task focused, you’re missing out on an opportunity to support your direct reports and ensure that they feel heard and listened to.
Some people will need a little encouragement to open up so actively listening to what they say, creating space, and responding sensitively will help to reassure people that you are there to support them. The following questions may be helpful:
When we don’t have clear goals we either become stuck because we are unsure where to invest our energy or we frantically churn out work in the hope it will be valuable. At the beginning of each month, help each person to produce five goals that connect to the team’s shared vision. It’s also important to recognise progress and highlight any accomplishments or achievements within individuals or the team.
It’s important as a manger to be there when people really need you, for deeply personal reasons or life emergencies. Ensure that people take time off if they need to in light of illness, bereavement, or other important situations. Encourage people to take their annual holiday allowance and to have some protected time to rest and decompress during time away from work, for instance at weekends or other days off. Try to role model the behaviour you wish to advocate for.
You can also sign up to our free, dedicated Managing Burnout Course, which will provide you with practical guidance on the best way to manage your mental health and burnout.
We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW)1, ACA students2, ICAEW staff members3, and the family and carers of members and students4.
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