The Main Cause Of Work Burnout Isn't Overtime — It's Managers, Study Says

Whether you're an employee, employer, freelancer, or even a student, there's one word we all dread hearing: burnout. The concept of burnout isn't anything new, but with things like the pandemic shifting the way we work, it's definitely becoming more of a highlighted issue.

The common conception is that burnout happens as a result of being overworked. But the real reason, research finds, is actually quite different.

Burnout is real — and most people experience it.

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Gallup estimates that 76% of employees experience burnout at least sometimes, with 28% experiencing it oftentimes or all of the time.

That's huge; it means that nearly all of us will come face to face with that dreaded word at some point in our careers.

It has serious effects.

People who experience burnout feel it physically as well as mentally. Experiencing burnout is essentially experiencing constant extreme stress, which is seriously detrimental to our health.

Gallup finds that workers who experience burnout are 63% more likely to take sick time, and 23% more likely to end up in the emergency room.

Managers have a huge role to play.

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No matter what kind of career path you follow, you're likely to have a manager. In the best case scenario, you'll have a great relationship with your manager, which will make work a lot easier. But the worst case scenario is that your manager will facilitate workplace burnout.

The ineffectiveness of managers is a huge factor.

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Gallup reports that there are five main factors in which a manager can contribute to burnout: unfair treatment at work, unmanageable workload, lack of role clarity, lack of communication and support from manager, and unreasonable time pressure.

It's all about *how* a manager manages.

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When employees feel as though they aren't being treated fairly by management, that they're being pressured to do too much at once all while not feeling valued, then they're more likely to experience burnout.

Employee-manager relationships are so important.

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The main way to prevent (and reverse) burnout is for managers to shift the way they treat their employees. Gallup outlines the best ways for managers to prevent burnout.

They include: listening to work-related problems, encouraging teamwork, making everyone's opinions count, making work purposeful, and focusing on strengths-based feedback and development.

It's as easy as that.

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It's really a matter of changing one's perspective and shifting how they treat their employees.

According to Gallup, when an employee feels more supported by their manager and doesn't feel pressured to stick to unrealistic deadlines, they're 70% less likely to experience burnout than those who feel undervalued.

But it's also worth noting that managers can burnout.

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Being a manager doesn't make one immune to burnout. In fact, managers are just as likely to experience burnout as employees. A manager who is experiencing burnout will most likely cause their employees to feel the same.

So really, it's important for all employees to recognize the signs, no matter how high up the ladder they are.

h/t to Gallup, part 1, part 2.

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