Burnouts aren’t just for muscle cars.
Chances are there is someone on your team that feels stuck in one spot, wheels turning, engine revving, just building up pressure until they blow up. Workplace burnout is real. It has damaging effects not only on your business but on your people.
Several years ago, after managing our product support team for five years, I hit the wall. My batteries were drained and I was running on E. I no longer looked forward to having the opportunity to deescalate an upset customer. I couldn’t bring myself to be excited about our team meetings. My creativity was nowhere to be found. I was going through the motions, but I was on the edge of being checked out. I felt it, my team likely felt it, and I knew I had to do something before my customers felt it.
It was a late night, after eight hours of standing in a trade show booth, meeting customers and promoting our business. My feet were aching but I felt better about my impact for the first time in months. Dinner, drinks and a fairly sketchy karaoke bar gave me the guts to say to my boss, “I need something more, something different.” He did not shoot me down or leave me to find my own home from many states away. Instead, he said, “We’ll figure it out.” When we returned to Milwaukee, that’s exactly what we did. I was able to do a different kind of work. I was motivated to make change and collaborate with different team members. My tank was full and I was ready to hit the road running. While that role didn’t pan out as expected, it put me on a path to be where I am today. Today I am grateful, satisfied and am in a position that allows me to make an impact.
How as leaders can we limit the inevitable employee burnout? What can we do when we see a team member showing signs of disengagement, lack of motivation, and job related stress? How can modest tweaks to workflow create an environment of comfort and ease?
Workplace burnout may be unavoidable especially in the service industry. Be aware and be cognizant of the needs of your people. Address potential explosions before they occur. You don’t want your people “peeling out”.