Burnout is More Than an Individual Problem

An article in Fast Company, considered, “How to Protect Your Employees from Burnout.”

The article identifies six issues that are instrumental in the development of burnout. With Christina Maslach in 1997 we framed out book, The Truth about Burnout, around these six areas:

• Workload

• Control

• Reward

• Community

• Fairness,

    • and

• Value congruence.


Our book took a different path in exploring solutions for preventing and alleviating burnout. We called upon employers to take action on these six areas of worklife. That is, in addition to employees’ fitting themselves into the structure of work, managers can develop ways of accommodating employees.

Sometimes, employees’ preferred ways of working may be the most sustainable, productive way for those employees to work. The employment relationship will work out a lot better the more workplaces can accommodate employees. Dialogue is the most promising route to a good person-job fit

Individual employees have a major responsibility for managing their connection with work in terms of health, commitments, and social relationships. But that is only part of the story.

Although managers can facilitate employees’ efforts, managements’ primary domain covers the policies and practices that shape the day-to-day life of the workplace. For example, the CREW (Civility, Respect, and Engagement with Work) process, leads to a more fulfilling, supportive social environment at work.

Implementing CREW is beyond the scope of individual employees. It is a collaborative decision of management with employees.

Action: Management will be most effective at preventing burnout by developing responsive, engaging work environments.


  1. Dear Dr. Leiter:

    It’s a pleasure to read you again!

    And let me tell you that those principles are effective not only at workplace, but also in academic and ordinary life situations.

    And I’ve also notice that is easier for managers to preserve their own health if they promote a supportive social environment at work rather than a over controlled environment based on rules and punishment.

    Greets, Heriberto


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