The Warning Signs of Employee Burnout Every Manager Needs to Know

What Causes Burnout 

Stress is practically a guarantee in the professional world. While some stress can be positive and motivating (think of an urgent deadline or a fun yet challenging project), too much stress on the other hand can lead to what is commonly known as burnout 

Employee burnout is becoming a more common symptom of today’s fast-paced, complex, and demanding workplace. According to a Gallup survey, 1 in 4 adults have been affected by burnout at some point in their professional lives. Many employees are starting to feel overwhelmed by competing demands and conflicting expectations, not to mention how technology has blurred the lines between home life and work life.  

Burnout ultimately diminishes an employee’s desire to learn and grow, and when an employee is experiencing burnout, their energy and focus will be spent on trying to survive instead of thriving in their seat and developing for the future. While it’s completely normal for an employee to have the occasional off day where they look or feel depleted, stressed, and defeated; if you start to see them like that more regularly, then they may be at risk of burning out, and you will want to act sooner rather than later. 

Symptoms of Burnout 

Burnout has been linked to several behavioral and physical symptoms. We recommend that you regularly check in and watch for these signs in your employees so that you can address and help them before they reach their burnout point. 

Behavioral Signs of Burnout: 

  • Feelings of incompetence 
  • Cynicism about one’s job 
  • Reduced work performance 
  • Distancing themselves from work 

Physical Signs of Burnout: 

  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability and mood swings 
  • Worry and anxiety 
  • Sleeping problems 
  • Chronic headaches or migraines 

Beating Burnout 

Some of the top reasons cited for employee burnout were unfair treatment at work, an unmanageable workload, lack of clarity and communication, lack of support in the workplace, and unreasonable time pressure. We’ve put together a few ways that can help you address these points and beat employee burnout. 

  • Unmanageable Workload 

If your employees are feeling overworked and overwhelmed at work, they will find it more difficult or sometimes impossible to complete their day-to-day tasks. As their manager, you have the ability to decide which tasks need to be completed and when. 

You can encourage your employees to sit down at the beginning of each workday and review all the tasks that need to be completed. It can also be helpful to have them organize their tasks by level of importance. There will always be things that will need to be handled at the beginning of the day, versus things that can wait until the end of the day, the next day, or even later in the week. 

  • Lack of Clarity and Communication 

When managers don’t provide their employees with the information they need to do their job effectively, work can become difficult and frustrating. In order to avoid employee burnout, you should explain role expectations, partnerships, processes, and the impact of the employee’s work. 

When performance expectations and accountability are inconsistent or unclear, employees can become frustrated and tired, just by trying to figure out what you want from them. The best managers consistently discuss responsibilities, priorities, performance goals, and expectations with their employees, and they collaborate with their team members to ensure that expectations are clear and aligned with team goals. 

  • Unreasonable Time Pressure 

Unreasonable deadlines and time pressure can create a negative snowball effect. After employees miss one aggressive deadline, they tend to fall behind on the next thing they are scheduled to complete, and it doesn’t end there.  

As a leader, you must ensure that the expectations for their role and their performance standards are fair. It is also important that when a particular employee steps up to work overtime or take on extra tasks under tight deadlines, they are recognized for their willingness to go the extra mile. 

  • Lack of Manager Support 

Last but certainly not least, manager support is a key component in preventing burnout. The root causes of burnout are within the span of control of managers. Employees want to know that their manager has their back through the good and bad. To be a supportive manager you must be there for your team members as a consistent resource for coaching, listening, and encouragement. 

On the other hand, employees can also feel a lack of control if they are micromanaged, so it is important to find the balance between manager support and employee accountability.  

Burnout is harmful not only to your employees but also to your business. It doesn’t have to get to the point of burnout if you are proactive. If you know the warning signs and you catch it early, you will be able to beat burnout in the workplace. 

The best way to avoid employee burnout is to design a healthy work environment where employees are positive and motivated instead of stressed and burned out. A people-first performance management software like Manage 4 Performance can help you do just that. Contact us today to schedule a demo and learn more about how M4P can help you. 

Meetings! Some love them. Others don’t. Either way, they are an inevitable part of any functioning organization. When led effectively, meetings are well worth the time investment. However, we all know they can easily become time-wasters and energy drainers. When we pay attention to the attendance list, form an agenda in advance, and conclude with action items, meetings can unleash new insights and promote productivity.  


We’ve probably all attended meetings and had the thought, “Why am I here?” When thinking through meeting attendees, we need to take a step back and ask: Who actually needs to be at the meeting? What do I want from each person there?  

Aside from wasting people’s time, more attendees in a meeting creates a “hiding-in-a-crowd” feeling and discourages participation. In addition to filtering your invite list, let people know what you want from them in a meeting. When you have a role to engage in, meetings are an honor rather than an obligation. Fewer people, who know exactly why they are at a meeting, creates an environment for productivity. 


Every productive meeting has an agenda. If you’re struggling to come up with an agenda, consider whether the meeting is actually necessary! Sending out the agenda ahead of time can make your meetings more productive, particularly if you need meeting participants to brainstorm or form an opinion on an issue beforehand. If you try to introduce a complicated question in a meeting, attendees must quickly try to process the question and generate ideas. Better ideas are likely to come from more extensive processing time prior to the meeting. Capitalize on your time together by giving attendees a list of questions to ponder and investigate ahead of time. 

In addition to setting an agenda, you must follow the agenda! This can be difficult if you have a particularly chatty group. As the leader, you need to set up and enforce some norms for success. Perhaps you devote the first 5 minutes of a meeting to non-business-related chatting, and then turn your attention to the purpose of the meeting. Even so, you may have people who have a difficult time staying on track. This will require you to kindly but firmly guide the group back to the relevant topics at hand. It’s the leader’s job to keep the meeting focused on the agenda, and many people will be grateful when you do. 

Action Items 

End each meeting with a summary of what’s happened and a list of action items. Each action item should have a due date and a person responsible for completing it. Discuss the summary and action items at the end of the meeting, and then follow up with an email directly after the meeting ends. This provides meeting attendees with a written record and reminds them of their responsibilities. 

Wrapping Up 

By auditing the attendance list, setting and following an agenda, and ending with action items, you can capitalize on meeting time. Over the course of a year, following these best practices can have a major impact on a company’s bottom line.  Additionally, when enough meeting leaders implement these changes, the norms and attitudes around meetings will begin to shift. Attendees will start to expect more from meetings: both to get more out of them and to bring more energy, ideas, and expertise to them.  

Our Manage 4 Performance platform helps companies be more strategic about meeting time. When you join M4P you will unleash a competitive advantage through saved money, saved time, and better ideas. Book a demo today to learn more!  

Post Categories: Blog | Insights
Date Published: Jul 15, 2022
Post Categories: Blog | Insights
Date Published: Jul 15, 2022