3 Signs of Employee Emotional Burnout: How to Identify and Address | Spyrix

3 Symptoms of Emotional Burnout of an Employee


The problem of emotional burnout has been widely researched and discussed since the second half of the 20th century. Sometimes the term “professional burnout” is used to emphasize that this syndrome appears in the professional sphere and is connected to the person’s attitude to work. If there are no changes in the professional sphere, the person will extend the consequences of the syndrome to other spheres of his or her life.

In the today’s crazy rush and constant changes, this topic is becoming more and more important for a modern person.

The reasons for the burnout

Let’s look into the reasons why this syndrome appears. According to Längle, for example, this happens because of the lack of the true existential meaning of the work done by the person. There is a number of other theories that name the following reasons: constant stress at work, monotonous work, incomprehension of goals of the company, heightened sense of responsibility, etc.

It was believed previously that workers who have to constantly communicate with people: sellers, teachers, HR-specialists are more vulnerable to the emotional burnout. We have conducted a survey among employees of an industrial company and it shows that the rate of the burnout is even higher among specialists who work in production and have little contact with people during their workday. What does it mean? It means that employees from various spheres are currently exposed to this syndrome.

To look into the ways to overcome and prevent the syndrome, it is worth remembering the Maslach’s theory, according to which the emotional burnout syndrome reveals three symptoms that require different treatment.


The first symptom: the emotional emaciation

Appears as constant weariness, physical discomforts and depressed emotional state. In simple words, the person is always tired and what he or she needs is to remember the first layer of the Maslow’s pyramid and satisfy his or her physiological needs - to have enough sleep, eat and rest, preferably in the fresh air. If you are a manager and noticed such symptoms in your subordinate, instead of talking about “high” matters, simply give him or her a couple of days off.

The second symptom: depersonalization

Appears as indifference and even the negative attitude to people around, relations with the colleagues distort and the attitude grows cynical towards the others. The first thing to do is to remember that all people are normal and we find good and bad traits in them ourselves. However, after following the advice to the first symptom, people will seem more pleasant to you.

The third symptom: reduction of personal achievements

The most difficult one to overcome. The person understates his or her successes and achievements, assesses himself or herself negatively and underestimates his or her own advantages. In the worst cases it may seem to the person that he or she is always doing something wrong, chose the wrong profession, haven’t achieved anything in this life and there is no way out. The first thing to do is to remember that “there are no failures, there are only lessons they teach us”. This is the brilliant idea of Robin Sharma whose books are recommended for reading, especially in the state of emotional burnout. When we treat the past experience as a good teacher, we understand that it is never too late to start something new, set new goals, write a plan for realization and achieve them. If you are a manager and start noticing this symptom, this is a signal that the employee needs additional support and motivation. Tell him or her how you appreciate him or her, believe in him or her, emphasize his or her advantages and contribution.

Remember, that the work on the burnout syndrome starts with rest and a physically healthy body, which is followed by the work on thinking and attitudes.