Mental Health · Preventative Disability Management · Workplace Health
Team burnout: 3 phrases to help save your team
Everyone is facing the same problem
What we see over and over is that HR leaders care about their people. If they didn’t, they probably wouldn’t be in the role they’re in. What we also see is that many HR leaders can see, hear, and feel their teams burning out and are feeling under-equipped to handle it. Team burnout has been highly relevant in many workplaces as COVID related stress has been piling on. Many HR leaders are reporting that despite their efforts, burnout is continuing to spread. Teams are disconnected, stressed, less motivated and burnout is a serious concern.
In addition to the extra stress people are bringing to work leaders have their own stressors to deal with related to family, health, the rest of your life outside of work.
So if you are working in HR, what can you do about it?
If your team is currently feeling stressed, disconnected, or you are worried about team burnout, and you want to help them- this post is for you.
In this post we’re going to share 3 important phrases that can help you help your team to feel better without exerting more effort.
As a bonus, if you’re like most of us and your own mental health has been challenged over these last 2 years, these phrases are going to help you heal too.
What Team Burnout looks like
What does team burnout look like?
One of the first signs of burnout is a decrease in energy and motivation. This might look like staff are no longer excited to be at work and you can feel it in the air. Work performance declines. Without resolving the stressors, the ability to manage the stress and regulate emotions starts to decline – which means people are quicker to anger and negativity. It can take more effort to get back to positivity- and that can start to impact the people around them. This can create a negative snowball which can be very stressful to observe on your colleagues and team.
Team burnout phrase one: Self-care isn’t selfish
One way to feel better when stressed is to help others- it feels good, and it’s noble. However, it does not replace long-term strategies for taking care of yourself: managing your relationships (family and friends) and your health (exercise and diet). Research has shown that people are less likely to engage in self-care when their mental health starts to decline due to increased stress.
This is compounded by an underlying belief that putting yourself first is selfish. Sure, sometimes putting the needs of others first feels good and is a requirement for a fun, healthy working environment. When you do it consistently and it becomes your excuse to neglect your own needs, when you know you need it -it can start to negatively affect energy, happiness, and confidence.
Remind your team members that self-care is NOT selfish, and do it often! We can feel conflicted by the idea that taking care of others is a priority; and that focusing on one’s self-care is not directly beneficial to the organization. Self-care actually helps everyone around us and helps us to be more productive.
Help them with this and they will know you care about them. That will help them care about themselves. That will help them get back to loving where they work.
Team burnout phrase two: You’re not lazy
The initial stress we’re facing right now is already challenging, but for many of us we carry additional stress as guilt for not taking better are of ourselves. We know we should exercise more, eat better, sleep better. Maybe start meditating, spend more time with our family, and our friends… how long has it been since we’ve relaxed with our friends and caught up? Guilt and shame about what we are not doing can pile up and add to our negative thinking about ourself.
“I’m so lazy, I can’t even make it to the gym”, “I’m disgusting, look at the way I’m eating”.
Remind your team members that they’re not lazy. Help them understand that they are going through challenging times and ANYONE would feel stressed. It’s normal. And our responses to that stress often do not include prioritizing self-care. Once they feel heard and understood (and that you care) then, you can work on a solution together starting with phrase 3.
Team Burnout phrase 3: You make a difference
Have you noticed that some of your employees may seem immune to your efforts to support them? Like no matter how much support you give they don’t seem to feel any better or even appreciate it? When team burnout starts taking hold, motivation and innovation decreases. One way to explain this is through expectancy theory. We need to believe our effort matters to help motivate us to keep doing what we do. There are three things we need to know to believe our effort matters:
We need to know:
- What to do (clear steps)
- Where I want to go (clear goals)
- If I can do it (confidence)
You can help my reminding your team that they DO make a difference. You can go further by helping them recognize the things they are doing well (even if they aren’t meeting all job requirements). This will help increase their confidence and motivation. With increased confidence and motivation they’ll be more interested in talking about how to improve. When they start working on improving in this context, and you help them recognize their progress, they’re going to feel more confident and motivated. This is the positive snowball effect– the kind that benefits everybody involved.
Team burnout is challenging. It can be demoralizing to someone (like you) who cares so much about their team. Focusing on using 3 short phrases which represent psychological shifts can make a huge difference for them and for you.
You are requested to check our workplace burnout workshop