5 behaviours that cause employee burnout

Posted on: September 28th, 2016


Employee burnout. It’s one of those phrases that has become overused and misused. Many of us will have experienced some degree of burnout at work: feeling exhausted, detached and irritable. As a result, our job satisfaction and productivity level takes a nosedive.

It is easy to blame the workplace, managers and colleagues when burnout occurs. But while stress is a factor in how well you perform at work, a study published on ScienceDirect.com has shown it’s not the main reason. Instead, burnout has more to do with an employee’s personality and self-confidence.

Here are five behaviours you may recognise in yourself that could lead to burnout at work.

You find it hard to focus

A lack of focus is something that is inextricably linked with Millennials, but there are plenty more of us who also fall into the ‘easily distracted’ category. Equally, you may know what you want to do in life, but just never get round to it.

By working in a role that you feel passionate about, you are reducing your chances of suffering from burnout down the line. Decide on your calling and then commit to it. So, if you’re in a job that just pays the bills, it might be time for a change…

It’s all you, you, you

No one likes to think of themselves as self-obsessed; it’s not the most attractive of personality traits. However, it can manifest itself in a number of ways – not all of them that obvious. For example, do you experience feelings of entitlement, have poor teamwork skills or lack empathy at work? Or, perhaps you brood over personal injustices for too long.

If this sounds familiar then it’s time to make it less about you and more about those around you. It’s time to lend a hand to colleagues, get involved in your community and be a good friend. Equally, don’t be so hard on yourself. If you make a mistake at work, learn from it and move on.

You constantly strive for perfection

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if you demand perfection from yourself, sooner or later you’re going to be disappointed. You need to remember that it’s OK to fail and that you might not receive praise every time you perform well. The more pressure we place on ourselves to succeed, the more negative we feel when we fall short of our own high expectations.

Being a perfectionist is something that can often come up in answers at job interviews, but what is the sub-text of claiming to be a perfectionist? The next time you’re being interviewed for a new role and are tempted to say you are a perfectionist, it might be better to give an answer that shows a more level-headed approach to work. You don’t want a potential employer to think you’re on a fast track towards burnout.

When things get tough you hide away

If you feel constantly exhausted the temptation is to get home from work each night and spend the night curled up on the sofa. However, if you want to take good care of yourself the best remedy is social interaction (however tired you feel). Friends inside the workplace are just as important as those outside. Taking the time to nurture friendships with positive people will help boost your wellbeing at work.

You’re a glass half-empty person

Pessimism and burnout are closely linked. The more cynical and negative an employee, the less likely they are to tackle new challenges or seek social interaction at work. Plus, pessimism produces a greater level of stress hormones, leading to burnout and exhaustion. Taking a more positive approach to life might not guarantee you avoid burnout, but it will help lessen the chances of it happening to you.

Burnout reduces job satisfaction and productivity, increases the likelihood of depression, and can even be bad for your health. Don’t let it get in the way of your career.



Image: Stressed? by aaayyymm eeelectriik available under the (CC BY 2.0) license

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