Humans don’t Burn Out

Humans don’t Burn Out

In May 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) included “Burn-out” as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress.

They call it an occupational phenomenon – not a diagnosis. That is a small mercy.

In the ICD-11, “burn-out” it is characterised by:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, and
  • Reduced professional efficacy

In our view, this is a step backwards. The workplace is confronting the complexity of mental illness at work. It incurs a trillion-dollar penalty. Introducing sloppy and confusing language can make the situation worse. Let’s consider this:

  1. Stress is mostly positive and stimulating. We thrive on it.
  2. When pressure is negative, is that the workplace or the person’s fault?
  3. While the pressure of work is a factor, in our experience poor self-management is source of suffering – poor sleep discipline, substance abuse, sloth, anxiety, anger and worry.
  4. There are times when managers abuse and bully staff.
  5. The symptoms listed are so vague and subjective as to be useless.
  6. Engines and electrical circuits may burn out. Human’s don’t do this.
  7. Burn-out is open for business now. Watch the numbers grow.
  8. Blame will land on employers, managers and the economy.

No one will win. Even on a good day, we can convince ourselves on all three WHO symptoms. What happens when we chose to drink too much, worried about our marriage, slept in over the weekend, or fume over a neighbour’s behaviour? And how do we distinguish burn-out from endogenous depression or PTSD?

Yes, we want workplaces to serve our society, compensate fairly, provide stimulation and meaning and even a community. For this to be sustainable, we need people to be physically, emotionally and mentally fit. At the end of the day, this is an individual responsibility. Workplaces can help significantly.

Here is a quick reminder of what we have found to be a far more constructive solution:

Help staff and managers understand how resilience fails

Copyright: Resilience Institute Limited

Train staff and managers to bounce with precision and skill

Copyright: Resilience Institute Limited

Build resilience

Copyright: Resilience Institute Limited
by 
Anchor Yourself!

Anchor Yourself!

Anchor Yourself!

This week, I take every day the time to anchor myself, keeping calm and feeling grounded.  

Hustle bustle of life may easily leave us anchorless, “floating” with no strong connection with self and the here and now. Grounding ourselves, pressing our feet on the ground while standing tall and breathing, deeply enables to quickly tune back. Re-aligned, we can move forward with serenity.

When will you anchor yourself today?

Sparking Motivation Is The Key To Beating Stress And Burnout

Sparking Motivation Is The Key To Beating Stress And Burnout

Sparking Motivation Is The Key To Beating Stress And Burnout

And To Improving Employee Engagement

Let us kick off Stress Awareness Month by looking at the opposite of stress. Certainly, there are times when stress is telling us that something in our lives is straining our capacity—a stressor we need to identify and deal with. However, often times, stress can be a sign that something is missing.

As an Executive Wellness Coach, companies and individual executives hire me to help them manage stress for well-being and success. Stress is an enormous drag on our physical and mental health and our productivity. It is imperative to manage stress and replacing it with a positive is even better. Stress drains our energy. Let us also look at what creates energy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to one-third of U.S. workers report high levels of stress at work. Two-fifths (40%) say their jobs are very stressful, and more than one-fourth (26%) report being “often burned out or stressed” by their work.

It is no accident that high levels of workplace stress are accompanied by high levels of employee disengagement. Business leaders need to understand what factors are crushing employees’ spirit, and on the other hand, how to spark motivation.

Meaning and motivation

A recent report by the Korn Ferry Institute explicitly links the problem of a stressed-out workforce with the challenge of fostering motivation. The key to sustained innovation is motivation—specifically intrinsic motivation, the drive that comes from within. By contrast, stress is “a well-known creativity killer.”

Forbes

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Sparking Motivation Is The Key To Beating Stress And Burnout, And To Improving Employee Engagement

Sparking Motivation Is The Key To Beating Stress And Burnout, And To Improving Employee Engagement

Sparking Motivation Is The Key To Beating Stress And Burnout, And To Improving Employee Engagement

Business leaders need to understand what factors are crushing employees’ spirit, and on the other hand, how to spark motivation.

Let us kick off Stress Awareness Month by looking at the opposite of stress. Certainly, there are times when stress is telling us that something in our lives is straining our capacity—a stressor we need to identify and deal with. However, often times, stress can be a sign that something is missing.

As an Executive Wellness Coach, companies and individual executives hire me to help them manage stress for well-being and success. Stress is an enormous drag on our physical and mental health and our productivity. It is imperative to manage stress and replacing it with a positive is even better. Stress drains our energy. Let us also look at what creates energy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to one-third of U.S. workers report high levels of stress at work. Two-fifths (40%) say their jobs are very stressful, and more than one-fourth (26%) report being “often burned out or stressed” by their work.

It is no accident that high levels of workplace stress are accompanied by high levels of employee disengagement. Business leaders need to understand what factors are crushing employees’ spirit, and on the other hand, how to spark motivation.

Meaning and motivation

A recent report by the Korn Ferry Institute explicitly links the problem of a stressed-out workforce with the challenge of fostering motivation. The key to sustained innovation is motivation—specifically intrinsic motivation, the drive that comes from within. By contrast, stress is “a well-known creativity killer.”

The report challenges business leaders to take a long hard look in the mirror: “Is your company stoking or suppressing people’s intrinsic drive?”

Paying attention to motivation is especially important now that Millennials have become the largest part of the workforce. They are searching for purpose and meaning, and want to work for more than a paycheck.

Intrinsic motivation is driven mainly by two factors: autonomy and purpose. Give both to your employees and they will thrive, and so will your company.

A sense of control

Disruption and constant change are unavoidable realities in today’s economy, as is the threat of jobs being replaced or radically altered by automation or AI. As a result, the American Psychological Association finds that “a sense of powerlessness” is at the core of workplace stress.

Business leaders can effectively counter this source of stress by giving employees meaningful autonomy—the ability to exercise discretion in how to carry out their jobs. Employees who feel trusted and empowered are more likely to show initiative and to take ownership over their work. That kind of employee engagement translates directly into improved performance and higher retention rates.

Creating a sense of autonomy throughout an organization requires a new leadership style. Rigid, top-down leadership is a relic of the past. Today’s leaders see authority and decision-making as something to be shared. A participatory and coaching leadership style leads to greater motivation and innovation.

Clarity and purpose

It is well-established that purpose-driven companies perform better and have higher employee satisfaction rates. The challenge is to align the jobs of employees with their unique strengths and individual interests. The art of putting employees in a position to succeed and thrive is one of the marks of a great leader.

Purpose has to come with clear expectations in order to produce results. According to a recent Gallup State of the American Workplace report, a lack of role clarity is a significant factor behind employee burnout. Only 60% of workers strongly agree that they know what is expected of them at work. “When accountability and expectations are moving targets, employees can become exhausted just trying to figure out what people want from them.”

On the other hand, when leaders simultaneously communicate a strong purpose and clear expectations, employees will engage and deliver. Engagement and motivation are antidotes to stress.

Invest in your employees

A feeling of competence is the third big driver of motivation. Conversely, the pressure to quickly master new skills and technologies can be an additional source of stress.

Consider your employees as human capital and invest in them.  A culture of learning within an organization inspires a growth mindset—a quality linked to improved performance and greater resilience. People who consistently feel they are learning new skills are far less likely to be stressed.

Sometimes stress arises from feelings of being overwhelmed—but being underwhelmed can also be a problem. Employees enjoy a challenge when their jobs have a sense of purpose and autonomy, and when they feel that they have the skills to meet that challenge.

As business leaders, we need to examine what drains our energy in the workplace, and also what fuels and feeds that energy. By fully tapping into the power of motivation, our own and that of our employees, we can both combat stress and ignite innovation.

 

Forbes – Naz Beheshti

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What is resilience and How do we cultivate it?

What is resilience and How do we cultivate it?

What is resilience and How do we cultivate it?

We know that in an increasingly complex and changing world, resilience – the ability to bounce back, will be more important than ever. This year St Andrew’s has made a commitment to deepen our understanding on the theme of resilience.

At the beginning of the year, all St Andrew’s staff and Senior students had the opportunity to learn from inspiring resilience researcher, Dr Sven Hansen. Dr Hansen is the founder of The Resilience Institute. Our staff were engaged and inspired by Dr Hansen, and the articulate way in which he was able to explain research, science and give practical advice about enhancing resilience

What is resilience?

Listening to Dr Hansen broadened my own understanding of resilience. His message was that if a person is resilient, they can demonstrate four abilities – the ability to bounce back from setbacks; to grow and be enthused by change and challenge; the ability to connect and care for others in authentic relationships (not online); and the ability to find opportunities to experience flow (using their strengths to meet a challenge).

Resilience is about self-awareness 

Dr Hansen explain the process of resilience clearly in a spiral model. This model shows the stages that exist when a person experiences the inevitable ups and downs of life. When we understand how the stages work and identify where we are in the spiral, we are in a much better place to make good choices regarding our resilience. It is all about self-awareness.

Our young people are becoming less resilient

Dr Hansen also referred to Jean Twenge’s research on generational differences, to highlight the increase in anxiety and depression we are seeing in our young people. He emphasised that resilience was originally enforced by the tough and physically challenging natural environment humans lived in. In this world, life was about problem solving for survival. This is very different from today, where resilience is not enforced, it is a choice. And humans do not always make the right choices.

What factors cultivate resilience?

During his presentation, Dr Hansen emphasised the importance of seven factors in enhancing resilience. Some are physical whilst others are emotional and mental. 

These are:

    • Having the right amount of quality sleep at the right time (7–8 hours for adults and 8–9 for adolescents).
    • We should be building movement into our routines every day, as our brains and emotions are inextricably linked to our moving body.
    •  Being able to calm our bodies and slow our heart rate through good quality breathing is an important skill. Dr Hansen called this ‘tactical calm.’
    • Resilient people are emotionally intelligent. Dr Hansen acknowledged the importance of being able to name your emotions. If you can name it, then you can tame it.
    • Having a growth mindset about resilience is key. Fostering an inner belief that you can grow emotionally, physically and mentally is important. Dr Hansen explained how humans are biologically built to grow – from our muscles to our brain cells. It is our nature.
    • Our minds are increasingly hypervigilant and scattered. We can easily dwell on the past or worry about the future. Resilient people know the power of quietening their mind and focusing on the present moment. Their goal is to be in a state of flow – calm, steady and present. The ability to focus is a key asset factor in cultivating resilience.

Over 20 staff from St Andrew’s have been so inspired by Dr Hansen, they are forming an innovation and research group to learn more about the theme of resilience. As part of this focus, staff will be trialling the Resilience Institute app (you can read more about this resource here), reading academic articles, sharing ideas and connecting with academics at the University of Canterbury.

 

St Andrew’s College

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Building up Resilience is like making regular deposits into a rainy day fund

Building up Resilience is like making regular deposits into a rainy day fund

Building up Resilience is like making regular deposits into a rainy day fund

Reset, Renew, And Recharge: How Building Resilience Is The Best Antidote To Today’s Stress Epidemic

When stress inevitably hits us, there are ways to manage it and mitigate its effects. But why wait? Why not be proactive and build up the stress-busting quality of resilience so that, when stress arrives, we are ready for it?

Building resilience is like making regular deposits into a rainy day fund.The bigger our reserves, the better we will be able to withstand future adversity.

Keep in mind that resilience is not just the ability to bounce back from difficulties or setbacks—it is also the ability to thrive amid tough challenges. Those very challenges can increase our resilience if we meet them head on and with a positive mindset.

The power of healthy habits

Physical and psychological wellbeing are the foundation of resilience. Our other efforts to cope productively with stress will be undermined if we do not incorporate healthy habits into our daily routine.

The Harvard Medical School emphasizes the importance of diet, exercise, and regular sleep in combatting stress and building resilience. While it can be tempting to stray from healthy eating during a long day, unhealthy choices will drain our energy and contribute to mood swings.

Forbes – Naz Beheshti 

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