Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

How You Can Prevent Burnout or Overcome It

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

How You Can Prevent Burnout or Overcome It

Article excerpt

Byline: Candace Moody

The dictionary defines burnout as fatigue, frustration, or apathy caused by overwork or stress. You probably know several co-workers or employees whose picture could appear next to that dictionary definition. You see the signs everywhere: increased absenteeism, sloppy work and bad attitudes. Managers blame employees for their bad attitudes, and employees blame customers or working conditions for their fatigue and stress. But one expert says that both sides may have it wrong.

Matt Heller is the author of "The Myth of Employee Burnout: What it is, Why it Happens, and What to Do about It." He spent most of his career in HR in the amusement park industry, famous for its young, relatively unskilled workforce that almost always burns out at the end of the busy summer season. Heller says that managers often fail to pinpoint the correct cause of burnout. They fall prey to "the Fundamental Attribution Error," which social scientists have observed for decades. The Fundamental Attribution Error states that when I am performing badly, I attribute it to external factors, like not getting a great night's sleep, not receiving enough direction, or some other reason. But when I observe you not performing well, I attribute it to you being a dimwit or slacker.

In other words, managers who blame employees for their performance or behavior issues may be overlooking the fact that working conditions are putting too much stress on staff. Staff who blame working conditions may not be taking responsibility for their actions and attitudes. Matt Heller's consulting practice helps companies understand how to identify and repair causes of stress, fatigue and apathy and help workers get their mojo back.

Heller says that another myth of burnout is that it happens only to workers who have been on the job too long. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.