work habits and underdeveloped emotional support
systems can cause stress which leads to burnout.
Burnout is a
familiar term these days: it's the physical or
emotional exhaustion that results from long-term
stress or frustration. Chronic fatigue is a major
symptom of burnout: one feels physically, emotionally
and spiritually exhausted. Behaviorally, the burnout
worker becomes cynical, indifferent and increasingly
ineffective in the job.
According to Herbert
J. Freudenberger, the New York psychologist who coined
the term in 1972, burnout describes a specific
condition. It is an emotional state characterized by
an overwhelming and enduring feeling of exhaustion or
aggravation. Burnout is a condition that develops
gradually as the person's creativity and effectiveness
erode into fatigue, skepticism and an inability to
overburdened, over-stretched executive
is the best executive, because he or
she doesn't have the time to meddle, to
deal in trivia, to bother
Jack Welch ~
is at blame for burnout?
worker is the one who gets the blame but research
shows that the cause of burnout lies mainly in current
economic trends, the use of technology and management
philosophy within organizations. Driven by global
competition and the demands of bottom-line profits,
corporations are cashing in their human assets for
short-term stock performance.
your management using:
controls to achieve short-term gains?
taking more time with more
and energy are leading indicators of corporate
leaders become de-energized and lose confidence in
themselves, these emotions are transferred to
engagement and long-term improvements in corporate
performance can't be accomplished with a burned out,
low energy and low confidence leadership
research shows that, across the board, leaders' energy
at work is going down and their confidence is
declining. The Leadership Pulse research comes from a
sample of over 4,000 executives who participate in
short, real-time, eePulse Surveys conducted every two
months. In the May 2005 survey, the business
confidence of worldwide executives in their own
personal leadership and management skills slipped to
88% from 92% in the summer of 2004. While the
confidence in their firm's ability to change as needed
dropped to 56% from 65%.
Compared to scores
from last year at this time, the overall energy
reported by executives dropped from 6.72 to 6.25. The
percent of people reporting to be in the overall,
"high-energy" zones dropped from 62% to 53%. "We've
actually seen over the last year a continuous trend
downward in these numbers," said Dr. Theresa
Welbourne, president and CEO of eePulse,
and an adjunct professor of executive education at the
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. "I think the
people issue is starting to come to the forefront of
organizations' radar screens. They can't take it for
granted anymore, but they don't have the bench
strength to really deal with the issue."
is costly to both the individual and the
For the individual,
burnout can lead to poor decision-making and a drop in
work quality, productivity and morale. Studies show
that the individuals most likely to develop burnout
are well-educated, self-motivated and attracted to
demanding jobs where the risks and rewards are high.
This person is also the type who enjoys fostering
change and adds value to a business.
organization, costs include higher medical costs,
increased employee turnover and higher absenteeism. It
is estimated that in the United States more than half
of the 550 million working days lost each year to
absenteeism are stress-related.
And if the
organization is entrepreneurial, all the risks,
burdens and intense focus cause stress which afflicts
most business owners. Entrepreneurs seem to be
recognizing their problems by connecting with personal
coaches, psychiatrists and therapists who specialize
in counseling business leaders. Interest in
entrepreneurial angst is growing among scholars,
academics and foundations who are beginning to
consider the personal toll of running a company.
can be done about burnout?
management must collaborate to attack the problem.
Management should focus on preventive measures,
improve overall human resource management, communicate
clearly and provide support. Rather than suffering
from exhaustion, cynicism and ineffectiveness, workers
in a healthy workplace experience energy, involvement
and increased productivity.
for these symptoms that someone is
silently suffering from
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