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How to get better at spotting and addressing employee burnout at work

At a time when many business owners are doing more with less, how do you address employee burnout? Today on Inside Automotive, we’re pleased to welcome Scott Mautz, keynote speaker, trainer, best-selling author, and the Founder of Profound Performance. Scott discusses employee burnout in his book, Leading from the Middle, and he joins us today to share his perspective on how business leaders can address it.

There may be no greater productivity loss in a workplace than among employees suffering from burnout. Employee burnout sends productivity spiraling down, and business leaders are not as good at spotting it, says Mautz. However, there are some pretty clear signs of burnout, and The World Health Organization has even made it an official medical condition. Here’s what to look for.

Seven signs that a burned out employee

  1. The employee consistently feels tired or has low energy.
  2. They are disengaged or apathetic towards their work.
  3. If an employee’s attitude becomes more cynical or pessimistic.
  4. A drop in productivity or quality of work.
  5. If you see the employee become more self-isolated and distant from the social aspects of their job.
  6. Irritability or over sensitivity.
  7. If the employee is absent or tardy more often.

Four questions to ask burned out employees

If you are the manager of an employee you suspect is burned out, research shows that one of the most powerful things you can do is have a conversation about it. Mautz has identified four crucial questions to ask your employees that might be experiencing burnout:

  1. Is it too much work?
  2. Are you working on the right tasks?
  3. Are you getting the wrong response to your work?
  4. Do you have unrealistic expectations of your work?

As it turns out, many employees simply want to feel heard. They want to be known. They want to know that, you know, they are working very hard. Often, when Mautz sits down to have these discussions, he doesn’t end up making that many adjustments to the employee’s work plan. 

This set of questions has a lot of universal underlying principles; people want to be known, and they want to be heard. They want to make sure the scope of what they’re taking on in the relationship is equal and work within the expectations they should. 

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