Performance
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Preventing Frontline Burnout with Jennifer Moss

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Episode overview:

Do you feel exhausted at work?

Do you feel increasingly distanced from or negative about your job?

Are you noticing reduced quality in your work output?

Then you may be experiencing burnout, a legitimate medical condition related to the workplace. In August 2020, 58% of US workers identified themselves as experiencing burnout, up from 45% at the beginning of the pandemic. This issue is damaging workers’ physical and mental health as well as productivity and innovation in the workplace. It’s especially problematic on the frontline, where employees have significantly less control over their day-to-day work experience. Unfortunately, fixing burnout isn’t as simple as taking up meditation or getting more sleep. That’s because burnout is a workplace problem, not a worker problem, and requires changes to the systems and processes that guide how work is done.

JD speaks with Jennifer Moss to learn what organizations can do to protect their frontline teams from burnout. Jennifer is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker, and nationally syndicated radio columnist who researches topics related to happiness and workplace well-being.  To acknowledge her contributions to business and public service, Jennifer was named a Canadian Innovator of the Year, an International Female Entrepreneur of the Year, and recipient of the Public Service Award from the Office of President Obama.

The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It by Jennifer Moss publishes on September 28, 2021.

Learn More About Preventing Burnout:

If you have a frontline story you’d like us to explore on a future episode, let us know at podcast@axonify.com

The 80 Percent is brought to you by Axonify. To learn how you can provide communication and training to your frontline workforce that actually works, visit axonify.com.

Join the #FrontlineForward effort by visiting axonify.com/frontlineforward to access free training content, download the 2020 State of Frontline Employee Training Report and subscribe for the updates.

About the Guest(s)

Jennifer Moss

Jennifer Moss is an international public speaker, author, and workplace expert. She is the award-winning author of “Unlocking Happiness at Work” and a frequent writer for Harvard Business Review and SHRM. She is the co-founder and Board Member at Plasticity Labs, a workplace insights and consultancy firm.

About the Host(s)

JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect
JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

JD Dillon became an expert on frontline training and enablement over two decades working in operations and talent development with dynamic organizations, including Disney, Kaplan and AMC. A respected author and speaker in the workplace learning community, JD also continues to apply his passion for helping frontline employees around the world do their best work every day in his role as Axonify's Chief Learning Architect.

Episode Transcript

 

JD Dillon:

Welcome to the 80% where we share stories and insights to help you better support and enable your frontline team. I’m JD the chief learning architect at Axonify. On this episode, we explore the dangerous reality of employee burnout. We’re joined by Jennifer Moss, internationally recognized workplace expert, author, and speaker who shares practical tips you can use to combat burnout on your frontline. That’s coming up next on the 80%.

Introduction:

I’m doing the right things. I am your competitive advantage. I am making my workplace safe. When you give the people on your frontline the tools they need to succeed, your business succeeds too. Axonify is sharing free training content and ongoing inspiration to help you move your frontline forward. Head over to axonify.com/frontline forward to learn more. I am on the front line. I am on the frontline. I am on the frontline. Together, we will move the frontline forward.

JD Dillon:

It’s now been a year since everything changed about the way work is done. After all of the safety protocols and operational updates and remote work transitions, I have one question I’d like to ask, how are you doing? The past 12 months have been traumatic in a variety of ways. When it comes to the workplace, most people have had to re-imagine how they do their jobs overnight. Sure. You may have hit your stride a few months back, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune to the ongoing physical, and mental impact of these changes. In August 20, 20, 58% of us workers identified themselves as experiencing burnout. That’s up from a very concerning 45% prior to the pandemic. Now, burnout is a word you hear thrown around a lot, especially when people are tired and overwhelmed from trying to burn the candle at both ends. But did you know that burnout is a real medical condition specifically related to the workplace?

JD Dillon:

According to the World Health Organization, a doctor can diagnose you with burnout. If you have symptoms of depletion or exhaustion, if you feel increasingly distanced from or negative about your job, and if you are noticing reduced quality in your work output, this is how I started to feel in the middle of last year. I noticed that it was taking me longer and longer to complete some of my regular work tasks, and I could barely get to the end of the day without feeling exhausted. And I’ve been a remote worker for the past decade, and I’ve been lucky enough to continue doing my job from home. So if I was more ready to deal with the impact the pandemic has had on the workplace than most people, how has the dramatic increase in burnout impacted those with less control over their day-to-day work experience? Especially those on the frontline? And what can we do to help people avoid the negative effects of burnout to find out? I sat down with Jennifer Moss. Jennifer is an award-winning journalist author, public speaker, and nationally syndicated radio columnist who researches topics related to happiness and workplace wellbeing. Her timely new book, the burnout epidemic will hit shelves. This September let’s learn what it takes to prevent frontline burnout with Jennifer Moss. Jennifer Moss, thanks for joining us on the 80%.

Jennifer Moss:

Thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to it.

JD Dillon:

Could you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Jennifer Moss:

Yeah. So I started this whole sort of plan out to talk about burnout ironically, as a happiness expert. And this is about a decade ago and my husband and I went through this situation where we had a sort of post-traumatic growth moment. And a lot of people have those where they’re going through something really stressful. And then for whatever reason, either it’s like electrical fitness or it’s just, you know, having those skills of resiliency that they leave that event and think I feel better about it. I feel like I would never not do that event again, or I’ve never had that experience. I would never give up that experience again, because it ended up teaching us so much. And so out of that, we wanted to research what it is about these moments for some people where they have these growth moments and for others, it ends up being really catastrophic to their own emotional health.

Jennifer Moss:

And so that’s when I started writing the book, unlocking happiness at work, and we started working with organizations to better understand how to make work happier. We spend 70% of our waking hours at work. So we really want to be happy there and a sort of flash forward to today, you know, over the last 10 years, I sort of went from an happiness expert to an unhappiness expert. I’m realizing that chronic stress and burnout are really impacting people’s experience of life. It’s so detrimental. We’re seeing it actually decreased lifespan and potentially lead to some horrible consequences. Burnout is really quite an issue. And so, you know, obviously the pandemic struck and it just sort of lit a match to a workforce in drought and so I was writing this book around burnout before we actually went into lockdown in March. And so I had to scrap about 20,000 words because everything felt tone deaf. I’ve just finished the book and focusing on helping people understand what this last year has done to their own wellbeing and mental health. But you need to have an understanding of what makes us unhappy to then have happiness and wellbeing and life burnout is a pretty

Speaker 4:

Commonly used term. So to make sure we’re all on the same page, can you tell us what is burnout?

Jennifer Moss:

So this is a great question and a big part of what I’ve been trying to do over the last four years in my research and work is sort of de miffing the idea around what our interpretation of burnout is. I go to Dr. Christina maslak and Dr. Michael lighter, and Dr. Susan Jackson’s work on burnout, and they’ve been talking about this for decades, and really hasn’t been until 2019, where the, who identified burnout as a result of unmanaged stress in the workplace. So it’s an occupational phenomenon, not a life phenomenon. By doing that the WHO really helped us understand that it is about root causes, systemic issues within the workplace that caused us to be burned out. However, this last year, when we look at how our life is intersected so much with work, and now we’re no longer working from home, we’re living at work.

Jennifer Moss:

And there’s this major culmination of a whole bunch of factors that have changed that I think we have to understand that life does play a role, especially when we’re working and living in the same space. But I do think what’s really important about this distinction and the reason why the, WHO actually added it to the IDC, which is the international classification of diseases. What that did was say, okay, let’s (employers) understand what your role is in burning people out, that it isn’t just an individual problem to solve that it’s a we problem to solve that it’s about accountability and, and management of systems and infrastructure and it’s also, how do we show up to work that is more suited to improve and impact our wellbeing in the workplace as well.

Speaker 4:

Let’s look at the challenge from two sides: first as a worker, what should I be looking for in terms of my day-to-day experience to identify if I’m at risk for burnout? And then if I’m a manager of a team, what should I be looking for within the team that I support, to identify that we may have a burnout problem that we really need to address?

Jennifer Moss:

So that’s really important distinctions because there’s almost three groups and that there’s the individual contributor, myself. For example, you know, I have to be my own boss and there’s this distinction between harmonious and obsessive passion. So we work at what we love and so there’s this whole myth that you never work a day in your life. Well, that’s not true. We work really hard and we often overwork because we’re terrible at taking off the hat and being our own boss and saying, would I be advising my employees to be doing these types of regular unsustainable hours? Would I be putting on my employees the same workload? Am I at a point where I’m starting to work more and engage with life less? So we need to, as individual contributors understand when that is happening. When we are an employee who is feeling the ramifications of burnout, it’s interesting because it’s harder to be able to go to your boss.

Jennifer Moss:

It’s actually almost a, you know, a privileged council for people to say, just say, no, just saying no to overwork. That’s not easy. And when you’re an essential worker, for example, what we found, especially for those people that are on the frontlines are desperately needed in healthcare. It’s so hard to say, no, I have to walk away because there’s pressing needs for that person to be there. So this whole way of dealing with burnout for them before was, we’ll just say no to overwork or breathe more, do more yoga, or we’ll give you a wellbeing strategy. That’ll help you to manage your own burnout. But for people that are overworking, it’s really difficult for them. And so this is where the company has to come in and be able to provide systems around that. But employees can work on their own mental health and that they can create more structure around priorities.

Jennifer Moss:

They can have conversations with their peers if they need you, if they can’t talk to their boss, we do need to have more transparency around what goals look like inside of an organization. Can they be flexible? I mean, there’s a lot that can be done even just within the employee space amongst peers, but it is very challenging unless they have the support from their employer. So as a manager, what we need to be doing is looking at the six root causes of burnout and they are workload, fairness. So lack of fairness, when we see things like inequity, especially for women this year, that’s been a big issue. Women’s systemically being pulled out of the workforce. We have to make sure that we have good community in our workplaces. So we have friends at work that’s really important. We need to be looking at some of these values for effort.

Jennifer Moss:

We see a lot of essential workers in those, on the frontline and those in healthcare, if they’re not being paid for the amount of work that they’re doing, teachers, same thing, they’re doing so much overtime and overwork. If they’re not getting paid appropriately, then they’re making less than minimum wage. When you look at police officers, for example, we see that issue with value and reward being misplaced. And so there have been situations where it’s really dangerous work. You know, we have to think of those root causes. This is where the system and employers really need to come in and understand what are impacting our people. And how do we create the prevention strategies for burnout versus just giving them wellbeing tactics.

Speaker 4:

In your conversations with organizations, how do you get the people who can really make decisions? Who can change, how work is done? And I’m talking about executives, managers, senior stakeholders, how do you get them to prioritize burnout when they’re often thinking in terms of ROI and investment in dollars and cents. And then on top of that, how do you get them to prioritize this conversation? When for the past year, the house has been on fire and they’ve just been trying to do what they can to keep the operation going and to keep the doors open without maybe realizing the longterm, irreparable damage they may doing to the people within their organization this year.

Jennifer Moss:

I think it’s brought this conversation to the forefront because people are getting sick, really sick, and they’ve been getting sick before. I mean, you look at healthcare. For example, they have the highest rates of burnout. Male physicians in 2019 we’re 40 times over the average for suicide rates and female physicians because of compassion and empathy fatigue were 130 times over the average. So we’re seeing people die in big ways across these industries and sectors. So there’s those reasons. There’s also, like you said, from a shareholder value and revenue and business success standpoint, there’s huge implications to having burned out staff. We spend millions, hundreds of millions of dollars on year, just on burnout and workplace burnout is the fifth leading cause of death in the US so you just have these massive implications, not just workforce in the humanity piece, but also just the fact that we spend so much money on managing that.

Jennifer Moss:

And then you look at friends. For example, I just having a good friend at work, according to the Gallup data, which is really the best data you can look at for why we should have friendships at work. What they found is that you’re four times less likely to burn out just by having one good friend at work. So imagine in an organization, employer can just foster better relationships, and that can be the difference between all of the costs of someone actually being on long-term disability or having to be off for mental health leave. Plus when people are chronically stressed, they’re less creative, they’re less innovative. They’re less likely to speak up about their work. They’re less likely to offer dissenting opinion, which is really important for us to have collaborative workplaces. I could list so many factors that play into why a leader needs to focus more on preventing burnout, not just because it’s important and it saves lives, but also because it is really beneficial to the success of the organization.

Speaker 4:

Let’s shift to the tactical side, especially that idea of the importance of having friends at work. Now, friendship is a funny thing, right? I mean, people relate differently to their workplace and the people around them. So how do you get an organization to prioritize friendship at work? And what can your company do to help you make friends on the job?

Jennifer Moss:

Poor question, because you can’t just put people together and set up an office and have friendships. It really is about creating psychologically safe workplaces so people can speak up, making sure that there’s turn-taking in meetings so that everyone has a chance to actually talk. And there’s not just dominating voices. In competitive environments, making sure that it’s about team goals and shared goals instead of individual goals, so that people aren’t feeling isolated. You also need to make sure that people feel that there is empathy. Leadership, empathy is really important. So taking opportunities to actively listen to other people, we need to have workplaces that are really safe to talk about mental health. We need to talk more about personal stuff and that being okay that we talk about personal stuff. Obviously there’s some people that are more comfortable with professional intimacy than others, but there is a way for us to be able to do that where it’s noninvasive and we’re just talking.

Jennifer Moss:

It also is a really big factor is trust in leadership. So if leadership trusts you to use social collaboration talks to just talk about personal things or connect about things that are outside work discussions and that, they’re not going to monitor that or give you a timestamp on how much time you’re spending on Slack. That is also a big way to foster friendships, which ends up being that people that are given the opportunity and they’re trusted are less likely to take advantage. So more of that mutual trust needs to be built up. And then all of that sort of, I think combined creates a workplace that makes it safe for building better community.

Speaker 4:

Two things I really took out of that were one, making sure there’s clarity around what people are expected to do on the job and what the priorities are of the day, and then to trusting people, to be able to execute on those priorities regardless of how they interact with and relate to the people that they work with. Because in my frontline experience, one of the things I see a lot is organizations and managers, especially essentially trying to legislate friendship out of the workplace. I mean, it’s okay if your friends off the job, but once you’re clocked in, you have to focus on the operation. You have to focus on the customer and you’re not necessarily allowed to relate to or interact with your peers in a friendly kind of way. And I think what you’re saying is not only is that a wrong decision, but it’s actually a damaging practice because there’s extreme value to supporting that friendship, those relationships that you can create on the job and how those relationships can then positively impact the way you do your work every day.

Jennifer Moss:

You said it perfectly, it’s really about goals. If you give people a set of goals that they’re supposed to reach per hour, or by the end of the day, or within their shift, whatever that looks like, who cares how they get to those goals, you know. Just have expectations that they’re going to get them and some people work faster, slower than others. If you give people a chance to take many breaks, have conversations with people, productivity increases threefold. You have so much more likelihood of them coming up with an innovative new way of doing their job that makes it faster and better and more successful. I mean, when we start to limit those opportunities for people to have sort of serendipitous collisions, we reduce the opportunity for the business to be more successful in all environments. And so we need to be much better about just making that space open for people to have friendships in.

Jennifer Moss:

And often for some people, we have a small group of friends and that one person at work will actually increase retention by 50%. You want to retain your people, give them a chance to make one good friend at work. It feels so cut and dry, but for a lot of employers, it feels nebulous friendships. That seems like it’s just, if I’m just thinking about dollars and cents, they’re wasting time that equals me losing those dollars and cents, but they don’t realize how much more exponential their growth could be if they just had trust and allow people to have a few minutes to catch up about football or baseball or, you know, whatever they want to talk about.

Speaker 4:

What do you see as the role for training and communication in helping frontline employees feel prepared and feel confident and overcome some of these symptoms of burnout that we’re talking about?

Jennifer Moss:

Communication and training is one of the biggest issues right now. I think that when it comes to employers not doing it well, they’re not upskilling. They’re not, re-skilling, they’re not understanding that we’re in a really interesting new shifting environment and the more that they can make their employees feel that they can, first of all, that they’re not obsolete in their jobs, which is really important. The more trust that they have, that there’s different places that they can go based on that training and understanding of their job, physical safety makes us feel more psychologically safe, and you can’t have a productive employee without psychological safety. So we can’t just focus on this one area. We have to be able to look at both. Strategies is understanding that, you know, if we are going to re-skill and up-skill, we need to be able to have both of these areas impacted and employees training. So the more communication you deliver, the more training that you deliver, the more psychological safety you just end up increasing. And that makes a more well-rounded employee and an employee that can start to actually lead into upper management or move around, or feel like that they have the confidence and the self-efficacy to be able to work better and smarter inside of their role.

Speaker 4:

I’m on record as saying the most important people in workplace learning more important than the employee, and more important than HR and L and D is the manager because they have so much influence over how work is done every day. But at the same time, I also see that managers are in the middle of a very difficult balancing act on one side, they’re trying to take care of people and make sure they can focus on providing people with the right resources and the right support, especially during difficult times. But on the other side, there’s KPIs, there’s measureables. There’s the things that the business is holding them accountable to. So what do you think managers can do to find a better balance? So they can put the right amount of emphasis and the right amount of effort into supporting people on the front line so they can help people overcome the challenges of burnout.

Jennifer Moss:

My book that I’m writing or rev written the burnout epidemic is really addressing managers and leaders because you know, what employees forget is that managers have bosses too, even at the highest levels, they have people that they’re reporting to or have expectations to meet. And so there there’s always that push and pull and management to be able to empathetically lead and be able to have understanding support for their staff, but then be accountable to their goals. And so a big part of that and a way for that to be remedied. And we saw this a lot in this last year is to flatten the hierarchy a bit and have more transparency and communication. So much of the research that I found this last year, where that leaders finally let their guard down around just what they were going through. And because we were sharing sort of a collective trauma that we were all parents dealing with, juggling demands, you could be the CEO.

Jennifer Moss:

Uh, and we found that in one organization I was interviewing, they had the chief of innovation on the same teams conversation as someone that would be a frontline employee. And they were both talking about their issues, trying to, to manage childcare. And so what leaders need to help their employees understand is that they are part of their experience, too, that they are feeling stuff that’s stressful and they have their best interests at heart. And if that’s followed up by action where it isn’t just lip service, you know, I care about you, I’m empathetic to you, but you know, and we’ll talk openly, but I’m not going to actually do what I can to preserve that relationship by standing behind what I’m saying, the more that you can prove that to be true, but then also be open and honest about what your expectations are and what you need to be able to perform for your management or for the organization.

Jennifer Moss:

The more empathy that we all share that empathy really is at the root of the most successful cultures and organizations. If you can really fit into someone else’s shoes and understand what they’re going through and talk openly about what you can and you cannot do for that person, it really changes the dynamic. You get so much more social support. You have backup. If you can’t deliver on some things, if you make mistakes, people have a different attitude around those mistakes. It isn’t just black or white. So I think more of that kind of open conversation will really help both managers play that middle role and employees to have more compassion for their management.

Speaker 4:

And as you mentioned in the beginning of our conversation, that preventing burnout is really about installing systems and processes because it’s a workplace challenge. So when you apply that to managers, it seems like a big part of the story is making sure that managers are prioritized correctly and have enough capacity to focus on supporting people and not just managing work.

Jennifer Moss:

Well, workload is probably been the major predictor of burnout this last year. And it always is probably number one biggest predictor. We look strangely at workload as 40 hours a week is sort of this ideal. It’s like this panacea to have only 40 hours a week or 35 hours a week. But really when you look at all the evidence, anything over 40 hours, it can mean that there’s less productivity. I understand where there’s overtime and there’s need for that. But we start to get really fatigued at about 50 hours. And basically at 60 hours, you might as well have not added that last 10 because it really just does make us so exhausted and burned out. So we need to be able to make sure that we aren’t just overworking because we can work so much smarter. If we have efficiencies, you know, this last year we found that people are working 30% more per day to reach the same pre COVID goals.

Jennifer Moss:

So when you’re chronically stressed because of a global pandemic, it isn’t business. As usual, you’re burning so many more calories to actually hit those same markers of success. And this is in all areas. I mean, you’re in the frontline, you’re an essential worker, you’re a person that’s out trying to also just manage your own personal chronic stress that you’re dealing with. It does make you more sluggish. It makes you slower. It impacts your ability to motivate and stay motivated and be clear on your thoughts, have clear mental clarity. So we really do need to understand that this is a, in a strange time. And so this idea of just working more to get to those same goals is not efficient. It’s about giving people mini breaks. It’s about letting people have friends. It’s about understanding that it’s about wellbeing as an overall sort of ecosystem way of thinking about the workplace, because then you can work 40 hours and have that achievable metric of success. You can’t do that without the space to be able to just breathe and relax and have normalcy in your day.

Speaker 4:

So one piece of the workforce went home during the pandemic and is unlikely to return, at least not in the same way they worked before. And then the frontline stayed in place. And a lot of people were either furloughed or I’ve had to, re-imagine how they do their job while continuing to clock in every day. Both groups are certainly working through their own challenges, but do you see a growing divide in terms of how work is done? And is this divide something that managers should be concerned with moving forward?

Jennifer Moss:

I absolutely think so. I know in some organizations I worked with, and this was a decade ago, looking at the biggest frustrations that people in the office felt were the people that got to be at home, working from home and people at home were like, I’m not just working my PJ’s. I have this indebted servitude for getting to work from home and I have my own burnout and I’m lonely, but there was a real Delta between the understanding of what both people were feeling like. And then you add this year, according to our research that we did across 46 different countries, essential workers were the most burned out. So the people that were actually facing these risks and dealing with safety issues and in the workplace, I mean, obviously we’re going to see a light here. We’re feeling a bit of a light. Yes, but we’re still going to have the baggage of that feeling of going back into an office potentially too soon, or feeling scared to be in an office or being on the front lines or being around people more closely than if we are just alone in our house.

Jennifer Moss:

So we need to be able to create very specialized conversations with each group and then be able to find ways of connecting those two groups. We can’t just do what we did before. It was just as those people in those people. And then the culture is completely divided by people that work remote and people that work on the outside of, of home. There needs to be better ways of creating that connection more now than ever, because we’re going to see a massive shift of people working remote more than we ever had it when you talk to workplace futurists. And so much of it is about predictions. We were predicting that this would happen in about 15 years from now. So the idea that it’s happening now changes everything. And so managers will have to learn, how do I have specialized conversations? How do I get everyone together? How do I have more cross-divisional conversations? We have to create empathy for both groups. And I think that it’s about hybrid solutions. It’s going to be more about figuring out how there can be more flexibility for certain groups that don’t maybe get to work from home, but how can we create some more flexibility for them and different rewards systems to celebrate people that are out there taking more risks? All of that has to be figured out as a strategy in the next year.

Speaker 4:

Do you think we’re going to learn from this? Are we going to get better at protecting people from burnout and his work becoming more human, or are we likely to fall back into bad habits or potentially even develop new bad habits as a result of this experience?

Jennifer Moss:

That is such an excellent question. You’re a really good interviewer, by the way. One of the things that I’ve seen in my own personal life is that when you do go through trauma, you do actually come out of it in a way that does give you skills. I mean, and we’ve learned emotional flexibility this year because we’ve had a crash course in it. We’ve learned how to be more grateful for the simple things. And you know what, when you do practice benefit findings, there is a long half-life to that. There’s really good research to show that it actually stays as part of who you are because we’ve had enough time in it because we’ve had a whole year focused on figuring out how to be flexible and pivot and be grateful and appreciate the small things. Our neural wiring has actually changed because of it.

Jennifer Moss:

If we can continue to make small changes and remember this, it will sustain. I’m not a Pollyanna. And think that everything’s going to go back to the way it was. We’ve seen systemic problems with women’s equality for centuries, and we’re still looking at 200 years to fix the pay gap. We have a lot of baggage that needs to be figured out, and we’re also going to be coming back with layers of chronic stress and just the sort of the echo pandemic experience from work. So it will require leadership. I can say personally, I’ve never been busier. So the burnout expert is being brought in to talk about burnout. And I was busy before, but nothing like this, there is a real awareness that it’s a huge and massively evolving problem. And that to me is assignment. There’s a willingness to have a conversation about it. And hopefully again, being the optimist to make some real change. And if we can start at the system level and people are open to the education, then I think there’s a shot at preventing it, or at least reducing it a little bit more in the future of work.

Speaker 4:

What’s the one thing you’d recommend a manager to do. If there’s someone who identifies the types of symptoms that we’ve been talking about and sees that they have a developing burnout problem in their workforce, but maybe they’re not a person who can make grand decisions, they can’t necessarily change exactly how work is done. Where can a manager get started?

Jennifer Moss:

You know, one of the things that I talk about constantly, my last book was about data-driven leadership and people get scared about this whole idea of database decision-making as being some huge thing to do. But it’s not. It’s just about asking what is going on with you this week that made barriers to your motivation, or, you know, how frequently did you feel like it was hard to get motivated in the morning, these frequency questions around measuring for burnout. It’s really just based on how often you feel these feelings of lack of engagement or feeling cynical or feeling like you can’t get up in the morning to start your day or you’re dreading work the night before the frequency of how we feel those feelings really are predictors for burnout. So just ask, you know, on Fridays or Mondays at your stand up, go around the table and say, was it hard to effectively hit our goals last week?

Jennifer Moss:

What were some of the reasons what could be one thing that I do this week as your manager to help make your life better? Within reason I don’t have a budget. What’s something that I can do to just help you or what would make it easier for you. And if managers are willing to action, some of those things and say, you know, maybe I can pick the biggest, most important priority for the team this week. And then we’ll work our way down the list that’s database, decision-making, it’s just asking. And the more we ask, the more we learn, the more open we get with each other, and the more effective leaders can be in preventing burnout.

Speaker 4:

Before we wrap up, can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book?

Jennifer Moss:

The book is the burnout epidemic, how we can prevent essentially chronic stress, you know, how we can fix chronic stress. And it’s really, the focus is on leaders. I do very specifically talk to management and leadership and organizational structural ways that leaders can change their burnout prevention strategy for some people, this feels provocative, but it’s this idea that we’ve mixed up wellbeing, strategies and burnout strategies, and that we’ve put bandaid tactics on things. You know, we’re suggesting wellbeing strategies to leaders and to our organizations. We need to be thinking more around that being about optimization. We want to make sure that you still engage in self-care, you know, still do yoga. If that makes you feel good, still walk for 20 minutes a day. All these things are really healthy for you, but when it comes to a burnout prevention strategy, it’s looking at the systems, what are the root causes? And so I identify the differences there and how managers really can make a true, authentic in those strategies. And stop trying to sort of tactically deal with people at a point where if they’re already burned out, you know, listening to 30 seconds of rain is not going to be the cure. So let’s get more real and have some straight talk with ourselves as managers and be ready to actually do the work and action, those prevention efforts.

JD Dillon:

Thank you to Jennifer Moss for sharing her insights into how we can combat the ever-present risk of burnout within our organizations. Check out the show notes for more information on preventing burnout and be sure to keep a lookout for Jennifer’s new book, the burnout epidemic coming in September, 2021. If you haven’t already be sure to subscribe to the 80% on your favorite podcast app, you can also find all of our episodes online at axonify.com/podcast. Thanks for joining me for this story. I hope you captured a few practical insights. You can apply to improve the way you support your frontline team. I also hope you’ll join me again for another story about how we can help frontline employees do their best work every day and make a difference in their organizations and communities. Remember that together, we can move the frontline forward.

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