September 9, 2022

Take Accountability for Employee Burnout

My husband is a wonderful musician, so much so, that he has multiple instruments around the house. The other day I wanted to brush up on my own piano chops, so I plugged in one of his favorite keyboards. As I turned it on, the keyboard immediately made a popping and fizzing electrical sounds and smoke began to rise from the keys.

I didn’t know what happened. I called on my husband confessed my indiscretion, and we discovered that I had plugged in the keyboard to a power source that it wasn’t suited for. The keyboard outlet indicated it could accept 9.5 Volts, but the power source I had plugged was for 12 vols. I had burned out the keyboard.

In today’s business climate, it’s more important than ever for leaders to take accountability for employee burnout. With the ever-increasing demands of the modern workplace, it’s easy to overload employees and create an environment of stress and exhaustion. As leaders it is important for us to ensure we create environments where people are able to successful

It’s important to remember that employees are people, not machines. They have lives outside of work (even if they work from home).  They need time to recharge their batteries. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your team has the capacity to meet your expectations. If you find that you’re constantly setting unreasonable deadlines or asking for them to achieve goals outside of their skill set, it’s time to reevaluate your approach.

Key Warning Signs Of Employee Burnout

It’s necessary to be able to spot the signs of potential burnout among your team. These signs could include some or all of the following:

  • Sudden change in mood
  • Tardiness or Absenteeism (including increased unexpected requests for time off)
  • Rise in Conflicts
  • A shift from collaboration to compliance
  • Poor work quality
  • Missed deadlines

While this is certainly not a comprehensive list, it’s important to watch for signs in the midst of your team to be able to manage expectations.

Create Environment of Mutual Trust

It’s also crucial to create an environment where employees feel like they can speak up about their workload and their stress levels. Too often, employees feel like they have to struggle through overwhelming assignments in silence. This can lead to resentment and further deterioration of work quality. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to create an open and supportive environment.

As leaders, we are taught to give clear, actionable, and timely feedback. This is necessary.  However, it is equally necessary to allow the team to provide you the same gift of feedback.  Frequently check in with team members to gauge their engagement and progress and invite feedback at the end of tasks or projects to best understand how they work and how you can be more supportive of their success.  This is a building block in creating mutual trust.

What To Do When You Realize You Might Be the Culprit

There’s no shame in admitting that you’ve made a mistake. In fact, it shows that you’re willing to learn and grow as a leader. Taking responsibility for your team’s wellbeing is a sign of strength, not weakness. When you take the time to create an environment of mutual respect and trust, you’ll be amazed at what your team is capable of achieving.

Burnout is a very real and serious issue in today’s workplace. As a leader, it’s up to you to take responsibility for your team’s wellbeing and set the tone for a healthy work culture. By establishing realistic expectations, creating a culture of respect and trust, and taking care of yourself as well, you can help your team avoid burnout and thrive.


capacity, overload, problem solving, reactiveness

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