Struggling with chronic stress and disillusionment at work? Burnout may be around the corner…. so watch out. Early research into burnout identified 6 factors that can trigger a burnout (Christina Maslach). How many of them apply to you?
Lack of fairness: When there is a perception that some people are recognised for their contribution and others not, or people are rewarded differently for doing the same work. It may not even be you who is suffering this lack of fairness but it may still have an impact on you.
Mismatch of values: When the organisation is going in a direction that you do not support, there is mismatch of values. A pacifist working in a defense related industry, would be an extreme example of mismatch – but if the corporate mission of your company is not something you subscribe to it may be time to assess if you are in the right role or even the right organisation for you to be most effective,
Lack of control: An example of this would be a micro-manager boss who does not give you enough autonomy appropriate to your role – or working for an organisation that is perpetually reorgansiing
Work Overload: This is the obvious one, when more is required of you than is feasible for you with the current resources that you have available. You may need to look at how you can prioritise your workload or get additional support in the form of staff, training or equipment.
Insufficient reward: And its not just financial reward here that is the issue here. People can be rewarded in numerous ways, giving praise and recognition where its due for example.
Lack of community: Having good relationships with colleagues, staff and managers is essential for a healthy working life. Being isolated or not getting along inter-personally at work would be key factors to look out for.
More over on Forbes.
Maslach also identified three classical symptoms of burnout: cynicism or lack of interest, perceived and actual ineffectiveness and reduced job satisfaction, and physical and emotional exhaustion. These factors in combination can trigger a person into a full blown burnout. Here are some of the ways that these symptoms can manifest as a burnout.
The initial research was done almost 40 years ago and yet the situation if anything is getting worse. To that end in Belgium, since 2013, the employer now has a legal responsibility for the psycho-social responsibility for their staff. Some companies are taking this very seriously and that’s why I conducted a research projects on the subject.
My summary results can be found here:
In my study many people spoke about how burnout can creep up on you and how people get into denial, as there is still a certain amount of shame that goes with having a burnout. Usually people don’t want to admit that they can’t handle things any more. One of the challenges of burnout is that it can kind of creep up on you and it is difficult to notice those creeping changes inside yourself. That’s why a tool like focusing can really help. Working with focusing trains the individual to an expanded sense of awareness, and greater knowledge of how a situation is impacting them. This approach can provide skills to help prevent a person falling over the edge into a full burnout. It can provide the necessary skills to help staff stay connected to their own needs and to better manage challenging situations. For example it would help them to recognise when they need to take a break instead of pushing themselves beyond their limits and then later on needing a long time to recuperate.
More information about focusing is provided over here.What is Focusing?