Improve Communication to Lessen Workplace Burnout

  • Posted on Feb 21, 2024

Which responses indicate that a team member may be experiencing workplace burnout?

  • I can’t seem to get anything done
  • Sleep? What’s that?
  • My shoulders and neck hurt 
  • I’m here, and that’s about it
  • Exhausted, simply exhausted

The answer?

All of them.

Employee burnout, a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion resulting from chronic workplace stress, has become a prevalent concern. More than three-fourths of employees have experienced burnout in the last 30 days.

Burnout is more likely to occur when different personalities and workstyles, limited communication skills, and ineffective leadership practices blur the lines between job performance and healthy work-life balance.

Burnout is real – now what?

To address burnout effectively, leaders and supervisors must adopt tools to understand individual workstyles, communication preferences, and leadership styles. Two robust assessments that can facilitate these discussions are the DiSC assessment from Wiley & Sons and the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) from iPEC Coaching.

The DiSC Assessment: Understanding Workstyles and Communication Styles

The DiSC personality assessment classifies individuals into four personality styles based on their dominant characteristics: Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C). Each style has its unique strengths and challenges, and understanding these styles can help leaders and supervisors tailor their communication and management approaches to meet the needs of each individual.

For example, a supervisor working with a team member with a high D score may need to provide clear direction and expectations, as well as the autonomy to make decisions and take risks. In contrast, a team member with a high S score may prefer a more supportive and collaborative work environment where they can build relationships and contribute to the team’s success.

Managing communication preferences can reduce confusion about roles and responsibilities, and stress levels will drop.

The Energy Leadership Index: Assessing Leadership Styles and Well-Being

Every decision-maker is a leader.

The Energy Leadership Index (ELI) measures an individual’s leadership style and its impact on their well-being. The ELI categorizes individuals into seven levels, from Level 1 (Apathetic) to Level 7 (Empowered). Each level corresponds to a different energy level and perspective on life and work. These levels fluctuate throughout the day, but everyone has an average level at which they resonate.

A leader operating at Level 2 (Reactive) may be stressed and anxious, with a tendency to blame others and avoid challenges. On the other hand, a leader operating at Level 6 (Responsible) may be proactive, resilient, and empathetic, focusing on solving problems and contributing to the team’s success.

Using DiSC and ELI in Discussions about Burnout

When used in conjunction, DiSC and ELI can provide a comprehensive framework for discussing health and wellness issues like burnout in the workplace. Here are specific examples of how to use these assessments:

  • Identify Burnout Risks: By understanding an individual’s DiSC style and ELI level, leaders can identify those at risk of burnout. For example, individuals with high D scores who are operating at lower ELI levels may be prone to stress and burnout.
  • Tailor Support Mechanisms: DiSC and ELI can help supervisors develop tailored support mechanisms that meet the individual needs of each team member. For instance, an I-style team member operating at Level 3 (Apathetic) may benefit from additional coaching and encouragement to build their motivation and engagement.
  • Foster Open Communication: Discussing DiSC and ELI results with team members can create an open and transparent environment where individuals feel comfortable discussing their well-being concerns. By understanding each other’s preferences and perspectives, team members can work together to reduce stress and create a more supportive work environment.
  • Set Realistic Goals and Expectations: By understanding an individual’s ELI level, leaders can help team members set realistic goals and expectations for themselves and others. Doing so can prevent individuals from taking on too much and experiencing feelings of overwhelm and burnout.
  • Promote Healthy Boundaries: DiSC and ELI can help individuals understand their boundaries and those of others. By respecting these boundaries, team members can create a more balanced and fulfilling work-life experience.

Before committing to a burnout prevention program, begin with a needs analysis as your foundation. 

Utilizing the Wiley & Sons DiSC assessment and the iPEC Coaching Energy Leadership Index can effectively address health and wellness issues like burnout so leaders can mitigate the stress that leads to burnout.

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