Manager Burnout: Reasons and Solutions
Managers have to carry a lot of responsibilities. From being a mentor to being an everyday problem-solver. It really is a job that screams “all or nothing”.
But bearing those hefty responsibilities comes at a price. That price is high levels of manager burnout. As a leader, how often did you think about a manager being burned out? If not, then it’s high time you understand the seriousness of it.
The focus has always been on dealing with employee burnout. However, manager burnout is as- if not more- detrimental to the company. The adverse effects are numerous that can severely impact the organizational bottom line.
One of the most significant drawbacks is that the growth of a team becomes stagnant as they are unable to accomplish their goals. When the team loses the one person who’s supposed to look out for them, it’s easier to lose track of their goals.
In this article, we'll help you identify the signs of manager burnout '(and what to do about it). Let's start.
Why does a Manager face burnout?
Manager burnout affects not only the the managers but the whole team as well. There will be a significant dip in productivity, performance, and morale. However, many a times, we fail to notice that a manager is feeling under the weather or stressed out.
Here are some common reasons that lead to a manager feeling burned out.
1. Managing a Dispersed Workforce
The current pandemic forced organizations to opt for work from home policies. This was done to keep the daily operations intact. However, the major challenge was to manage a dispersed workforce.
Managing a newly remote workforce, while battling the anxieties bought on by the pandemic, is no easy feat. As a manager, you can pretty much relate to this scenario. Before things could settle in the new working environment-
Things are pretty distorted as the change is sudden and unexpected.
Plans are uncertain due to a lack of data in similar situations.
Situations like these can be a major hindrance to a manager's work-life. They are always expected to be the voice of reason- especially during a crisis. While it is a part of their job description, such high expectations and the failure to meet them can be overwhelming. This may very well result in undue stress, anxiety, and breakdowns.
2. Increase in Work-Related Stress
There is no denying that the job of a manager is stressful. But give this a thought. What will happen when a manager succumbs to a desk piled with tasks? It will lead to a higher level of workplace stress.
Imagine yourself in a place where the work gets piled up one after another. Even if you try your best to complete them, the queue is never empty. This will have an adverse effect as it will-
Exhaust a person both physically and mentally.
Increase the stress levels and drain the ability to think.
Agitate your manager on trivial matters.
Build anger against the team members unnecessarily.
This indicates that your manager is getting burned out with their work. It can disrupt team unity as they will lose their momentum of working under a leader who they’ve adapted to as. Thus, significantly affecting the organizational success in the long run.
3. Lack of Resource
Managers have to make sure that the employees' needs and requirements are fulfilled to keep them engaged. However, if the manager cannot provide them with the necessities, it becomes difficult to increase productivity.
This can attract frustration on the manager’s part that can severely affect employee engagement levels. Without adequate exposure to procure resources-
A manager won't be able to provide the appropriate tools for the team to work smoothly.
This will increase the chances of team inefficiency.
Failure to meet the team's needs may make managers feel like they have failed at their jobs. It has a high chance of building feelings of inadequateness and eventual burnout.
4. Team conflicts
Team conflict is not a new thing in an organization. When there is a diverse and vast workforce, conflicts are bound to happen. It is something that a manager cannot control no matter how hard they try. And that is where the problem arises for a manager.
One of the prime reasons for manager burnout is when conflicts occur between teams or team members. It may be due to organizational culture issues or a clash of egos. The reasons might vary.
When managers cannot solve conflicts, it can gravely affect team cohesion—leading to a drop in productivity and overall efficiency of the workforce. A few of the negative impact are listed below-
Decreases employee morale
Diminishes confidence to do better
Harms employee relationship
Disrupts team Unity
5. Lack of cross-functionality
Organizational success is only possible when cross-functionality between teams happens without any problems. It becomes a manager’s responsibility to look after it and maintain constant communication between them.
However, the efforts to maintain a good relationship between cross-functional teams might be a daunting task. As a leader, you can facilitate different strategies for your manager to elevate cross-functionality. But if those strategies do not work, it can frustrate a manager and lead to high levels of burnout.
The prime reason might be the powerless feeling to making cross-functionality happen in a seamless way. Without the right guidance of a manager, employees and teams won’t be oriented towards the goals. Thus, hampering the overall bottom line of the organization in the long run.
How to Solve Manager Burnout issues?
Manager burnout can be resolved with the right practices and there are specific tips and tricks that a leader can use to reduce burnout. Here are our favorites:
1. Understand the Problem
An essential factor in solving a case of burnout is understanding the root of the problem. As a leader, you might want to look into-
Why did the burnout happen?
Alignment of professional and personal goals
The performance of a team
The overall personal growth while trying to accomplish organizational objectives.
Well, these are just a few of the root causes as to why a manager might be facing burnout. It is crucial to put the issues on the table rather than under it. The goal is to solve the problems as swiftly as you can.
It might be time-consuming, but worth it. You need not rush while solving the problems. Take the necessary time to understand how it will hamper your manager and the employees’ work in the long term. Learn, realize, and contemplate more so that you do not face the same issues in the future.
2. Take a Break
As a leader, you need to understand two crucial things-
Manager doesn’t need to focus their energy equally on every task.
Nor do they need to spend time sitting on their desk the whole day
The energy and commitment that a manager will invest in their work are vital. However, it needn’t be a 24/7 effort. It can fluctuate depending on the workload. One needs to keep in mind that some find mornings more energizing. While others might opt to work at more flexible timings. As a leader, you must learn everyone’s comfort zone of becoming more productive and effective.
You must understand the role of taking breaks while working. Breaks help you in-
Freshen up the mind
Change the scenery
Improves thought process
Help a manager schedule their work beforehand and try to minimize the workload as much as you can. Make room for breaks in their schedule. It is a practice that can help you reduce burnout levels significantly.
3. Try to Maintain an excellent Work-life balance
Undivided investment in your work is a good thing. But in between that, it is also critical that you do not mix professional and personal life. Once you do that, you won’t be able to concentrate on either of them.
Maintaining professional relationships helps you in the workplace. But what about your life outside the workspace? Everyone has their own social life, which they like to maintain. Keeping the connection with your friends and family members significantly helps in reducing work-related stress.
However, if a manager loses that work-life balance, things can become troublesome. They might-
Lose their close friends that can take a heavy toll on their mental health.
Disrupt their bond with family members.
This is why as a leader, you help your manager maintain an excellent work-life balance. And keep stress out of their life for the greater good. Burnout lessens when you have a people-centric work environment.
4. Take one thing at a time
One of the secrets to leading a stress-free life is to take one thing at a time. Be it in your personal life or professional life, the pressure of multitasking can be daunting.
As a leader, you mustn’t overwhelm your manager with numerous tasks. And if their hands are full, then you must help them segregate the work. To reduce work-related stress, you need to focus on-
Hiring when needed to assist a manager.
Manage goals and expectations in a feasible manner such as OKRs and KPIs.
Be mindful of the tasks that are on top of your priority list. Don’t ask the manager to complete the tasks forcefully. Let them take their time in building the right workflow. Set realistic expectations which one can fulfill. Moreover, be more specifically clear about what you want from them as a leader. Talk with them as a friend and understand their perspective.
An in-depth insight into their situation will help you in assessing their skills. Thus, making it comfortable for you to assign tasks accordingly and efficiently.
5. Cater to Mental and Physical Health
As mentioned earlier, managing a dispersed workforce and work-related stress can gravely affect a manager’s mental health. And it does not stop there. Their physical health might start deteriorating as well.
This is why it is essential to cater to their mental health and physical well-being. Without these, a human body might lose its sanity and capability to work. One might -
Succumb to anxiety
Pick up bad habits like smoking or drinking
To avoid these, you can ask them to start physical training or join yoga classes. It will calm their mind, keep their body fresh and energetic. Help them build good habits and develop a positive mindset. Good health impacts serotonin levels that can stabilize the mood and incorporate feelings of happiness.
Furthermore, as a leader, it is crucial that you check a manager’s mental well-being periodically. This will enable you to detect any breakdowns or depression. As a result, you will be able to provide assistance in dealing with the situation appropriately.
Summing it Up!
Manager burnout is not something that you should overlook as a leader. You need to solve it in a timely fashion while making sure that the managers do not feel out of place. Approaching it with patience and the right strategies does the trick for you. Do make sure you plan it out before and have a contingency plan ready to tackle the problem. If you have any more suggestions, do let us know in the comments section below.