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It takes more work to be a long-distance leader, so watch for signs of burnout

All year, I’ve been sharing short strategies on video about how you can be a stronger long-distance leader, something that has become much more common since companies have moved to virtual and hybrid workplaces.  Continuing in this series, today’s tip is to be vigilant about signs of burnout.

Be vigilant about signs of burnout

Being a long-distance leader, even if it’s the hybrid variety, takes more work.  Both for you as the leader, and for your staff.  Whether your people are working at the office, or from home; whether you are leading onsite or from a distance; things are more difficult.  Communicating, motivating, building relationships, getting things done – they are all a little harder to do than if everyone was in the same physical space all the time.

So it is very possible that your staff, whether they’re remote or onsite, are prone to burnout.  It’s your responsibility as a leader to be vigilant about this, both because stressed-out employees don’t do their best work, and because it’s the right thing to do.

What are the signs of burnout?

So what are the signs of burnout that you should be watching for?  If your employees complain about feeling exhausted all the time, they could be experiencing burnout.

Another key sign is the inability to concentrate or remember important things. If your employees are constantly making mistakes or forgetting about important meetings or deadlines, then you need to pay attention.

Pay attention to the number of sick days employees are taking.  People who succumb to every virus going around may be suffering from depressed immune activity due to burnout.

Watch out for irritability.  True, tensions in the workplace can simply be the result of a clash of personalities, but if an employee is suddenly unable to get along with anyone, it could be a sign that person is under a lot of pressure.  When people feel ineffective, unimportant, or less efficient than they once were, irritability often results.

Watch out for a cynical attitude developing in your department, as it indicates that your employees are no longer passionate about what they do.  Not only is cynicism a sign of employee burnout, but it also affects an individual’s trust in their coworkers or leadership.

There are several common root causes of burnout

Keep in mind that these symptoms of burnout are a result of several common root causes.  These root causes are often when employees don’t receive affirmation for their work, or have unreasonable demands put on them, or expect too much of themselves, or feel inadequate or incompetent, or are in roles that are not a good fit.  Take the time to ask questions to uncover the root cause, and then take deliberate steps to try and overcome them.  Sometimes you may need to help your employee get professional help.

While employee burnout is more likely if you are a long-distance leader for a virtual or hybrid team, it is not impossible to recognize and avoid.  You just have to be vigilant about it.

Here are some of the more recent strategies in this video series:

Or just access the full series here: Leading Hybrid and Virtual Teams Video Series

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