A recent survey conducted by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence studied the levels of engagement and burnout in over 1,000 U.S. employees according to their engagement-burnout profiles. Researchers divided employees into several groups:
- “apathetic” — low engagement-low burnout (2.4%)
- “burned-out” — low engagement-high burnout (1.8%)
- “moderately engaged-exhausted” — moderate engagement-moderate burnout (35.5% )
- “highly engaged-exhausted” — high engagement-high burnout (18.8%)
- “engaged” — high engagement-low burnout (41.1%)
Engaged-exhausted workers demonstrated high levels of skill acquisition, but also reported the highest turnover intentions — even higher than the unengaged group.
Although the “Holy Grail” of team leadership in recent times has been about how to engage employees in your practice, it turns out that there is a cost for actually achieving that!
According to Dr. Jochen Menges from the University of Cambridge, “Engagement is very beneficial to workers and organizations when burnout symptoms are low, but engagement coupled with high burnout symptoms can lead to undesired outcomes including increased intentions to leave an organization. So managers need to look carefully at high levels of engagement and help those employees who may be headed for burnout, or they risk higher turnover levels and other undesirable outcomes.”
What can we do as leaders of our teams to engage our employees without leading to burnout? Even more importantly, what can we do for ourselves to avoid burnout?
Although an entire book could be written on the subject, here are some major points to consider:
- Wellness initiatives, yoga classes, bean bags and movie nights can be somewhat helpful in fostering healthy and supportive work environment, but this often encroaches on our employees’ time away from the office – or away from being able to do their tasks while at work.
- A bigger influence is the practice’s approach to work itself. All too often, there is too much emphasis on production, with little left for two other critical elements: learning and celebration.
- In order to have healthy levels of engagement, it is crucial to strike a balance between demands placed on people and resources given to them. The higher the work demands, the higher is the need for support and acknowledgement. How can you do that? Be diligent about asking your employees what they need to do their job well, as well as asking for feedback about their ability to get their job done.
- Learn the elements of a healthy workplace, as outlined by the American Psychological Association here: Healthy Workplace Practices
- Master listening, relationship, and communication skills. It turns out that stress and burnout is reduced when the quality of the doctor-patient interaction is a good one. In order to have a chance at that, it’s important to have the skills in place to have a good interaction.
Working with a professional certified coach can not only help you efficiently and effectively learn how to lead a team, it will also give you the confidence you’ll need to be successful on the long term – and avoid the burnout and stress prevalent in our profession.