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    Christina Maslach: The Burnout Challenge

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    Show Notes

    The Burnout Challenge

    As Marcel Schwantes and Christina Maslach dive into their discussion on The Burnout Challenge they talk about the real target of the book, “The way human beings function depends on a relationship between the person and their environment.” [6:52] Christina comments on how too often people focus on just one part of that relationship, the person but neglect the role the environment plays. How do we improve the relationship between the job and the people working? She lays out the groundwork for their discussion with a definition for Burnout in the workplace, a response to chronic job stressors that haven’t been well managed. In this case, chronic is a very important word because these stressors become too frequent to cope with on a normal basis. 

    Job Mismatches 

    Christina gives an overview of the 6 mismatches at work that lead to burnout: work overload, lack of control, insufficient reward, breakdown of community, absence of fairness,  and conflicting values. “These are the chronic job stressors that are there all the time, that are annoying, that are hurtful, that get in the way, that are obstacles…that if you just didn’t have them, you could get your job done and feel good about it.” [23:57] These are as what she refers to as pebbles in the shoe, small but not trivial things that have a large impact on your ability to do your job. 

    The Three C’s

    Collaborate, Customize, and Commit are the “Three C’s” Christina shares that leaders of organizations and their teams need to work on to move past and pivot away from the mismatches. She emphasizes the need to make it a “we”, not an “I” and to focus on bringing everyone to the table to come to a solution that does not have to be perfect but can be better. Too often leaders and higher-ups are adding more to their teams’ plates but Christina says we need to rethink, redesign, and come up with something different but doable. “You have to do subtraction if you’re going to do addition in order to keep a relatively good balance between people and the job” [42:06] 

    Be an Engaged Leader

    “People are capable of really good things…we ought to be able to figure out how to help more of that happen on a regular basis” [52:18] Christina makes an analogy about a beautiful flower plant on her deck; she could have paid a lot of money for it but that means nothing if she puts it in a broken pot, with bad soil, and gives it no water or sunlight…those are not the conditions for it to thrive. The same goes for leaders and their employees. Leaders have to work to provide their employees with conditions that will help them thrive, which is a major part of their role. She encourages leaders to be engaged, walk the floor, and get to know their people and their needs so that they can be a part of the collaborative voice to help make things better.

    The Book

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    About Marcel Schwantes

    Marcel Schwantes is the founder and chief human officer of Leadership from the Core, a global leadership training and executive coaching boutique aimed at developing great leaders and great cultures through Servant Leadership.

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