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Avoiding the Burnout Zone

With Dr. Ana MelikianEP 173

People talk about burnout all the time, but they rarely know what it actually means and how it differs from normal workplace stress. Fortunately, Ana Melikian, Ph.D. has studied burnout extensively, and is ready to tell you what it is, why it matters, how you can prevent it, and the ways to treat it once you have it. Listen to this fascinating episode of Let’s Talk Business as she and Meny go over the symptoms of burnout, specific methods you can use to avoid it, what the potential costs are if you ignore it, and much more. It’s not a typical episode… but it may radically change the way you run your business as well as your life.

Transcript

Key Highlights:

[00:01 – 08:20] Understanding Burnout

Burnout is a multidimensional issue, involving exhaustion, cynicism, and a sense of inefficiency
It’s crucial to distinguish between stress and burnout for effective management
Early detection and intervention can prevent the progression to full burnout
[08:21 – 16:00] The Continuum of Engagement

Employees can range from fully engaged to overextended, disengaged, or burnt out
Recognizing where employees fall on this spectrum is key to addressing their needs
Leaders should strive to create conditions that foster full engagement
[16:01 – 24:25] Root Causes and Symptoms of Burnout

Burnout can stem from various causes, including workload, lack of control, and misalignment of values
Key symptoms include prolonged stress, decreased productivity, and changes in attitude
Addressing these root causes is as important as treating the symptoms
[24:26 – 34:18] Prevention Strategies

Regular assessments can help identify early signs of burnout
Creating a balance in workload and ensuring fairness can mitigate burnout risks
Encouraging open communication and periodic check-ins can maintain employee wellbeing
[34:19 – 42:06] Closing Segment

Recovery from burnout is possible with professional help and self-care strategies
Implementing the PI method (Pause, Increase self-awareness, Embrace experimentation) can aid recovery
Breathwork and mindfulness are effective tools for managing stress and preventing burnout

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Practical Pointers
In order to avoid burnout, use the “P-I-E” method. P refers to scheduled pauses at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the day, even for as short as a minute, where you plan, meditate, or do whatever works to break up your day. I refers to increasing your self awareness by analyzing your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and seeing how each of these affect the others. E refers to embracing experimentation, where you give yourself permission to try new things and even to fail; because even failure provides you with data that will help you be more effective in the future.
Because it’s difficult to know if someone’s burnout is caused by work or something that has nothing to do with your company, it’s important to sometimes bring in someone from the outside to talk with your employees. Even if you have an HR department, employees will likely be more honest with a person who is not employed by you. In the end, your employees will benefit from this communication, and you’ll benefit from having more comprehensive information about whether your employees are in danger of burnout - which means less efficiency, and more turnover.
When you realize that you’re on the verge of burnout, you need to give yourself some time. Take a few days off, or perhaps even a week. It’s better to push the pause button before your burnout fully settles in, rather than waiting until it’s too late, when treating it requires a lot more than a three day vacation.
In order to help your employees avoid burnout, there are three steps you need to implement: First, perform an assessment to see where someone is on the burnout-engaged continuum, what the root causes might be, and the cost of doing nothing. Second, boost opportunities for self-development, leadership training, and helping people be proactive instead of reactive. Third, cultivate work sustainability - meaning, learn what’s sustainable in terms of workload and pace of change, and use that information to develop a profitable business while taking care of your workforce.
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Guest Bio
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Dr. Ana Melikian

Ana Melikian, Ph.D., is a speaker, author, and host of the popular podcast, the MINDSET ZONE. Ana is also a Board Certified Coach and a proud member of the International Coach Federation and the Association of Corporate Executive Coaches. Before moving to the U.S., she obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Sunderland, taught at Universities in Portugal and Spain, and co-authored several articles and book chapters.

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