Bob Morris Book Review – Blogging on Business

The burnout challenge: Management of people’s relationships with their jobs
Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leitner
Harvard University Press (November 2022)

The power and impact of a PLURAL mindset in the first person

For more than 30 years, I’ve worked with the top executives of companies ranked annually among the Most Admired and Best to Work For. As different as these organizations may be in most ways, they all had, and continue to have, a healthy workplace, one within which their people think and behave in terms of first person PLURAL pronouns. That’s the “secret sauce” to accelerate personal growth and professional development, to create and retain what Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell characterize as “customer evangelists,” to become and remain more profitable than any of your competitors in the market. industry segment in question. It is also imperative that everyone is correctly aligned with the work they do, and WHY they do it, as well as their associates.

Note: During exit interviews of highly valued employees who have “fired” from one company (most often, they fired their supervisor) to work at another company, they revealed that feel appreciated it was more important than compensation and career advancement. Loyalty to his employer had dried up.

I mention all of this in order to set the proverbial table for the invaluable material that Christina Maslach and Michael Leitner provide in their brilliant contribution to knowledge leadership in burnout research.

They suggest that there are six areas of match or mismatch between the job and the person and that they are not independent of each other. In fact, they can overlap in multiple ways. There are many ways that mismatches can be combined. “Reciprocal interactions between coworkers over time mean that each individual can be affected by mismatches and also contributes to the mismatches of others.”

Think in terms of the principle of composition: both civility and incivility are sui generis, as are empathy and indifference, the positive and the negative, the constructive and the destructive, etc. Maslach and Leitner elaborate on the WHAT and WHY of healthy and unhealthy work cultures. Of even greater value is your knowledge, wisdom, and experience that guide and inform your explanation of HOW to avoid or lessen (if not eliminate) burnout at all levels and in all areas of any given company.

Here are some of the other passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Maslach and Leitner’s coverage:

o Work overload (Pages 12-16 and 16-18))
o Community Breakdown (20-22)
o Understanding mismatches (26-27)
o Blame the Victim (36-39)
o The medicalization of Burnout (40-47)

o Individual coping techniques (47-51)
o Psychological Adjustment (64-68)
o Essential steps towards good games (71-73)
o Collaborate, Personalize, Commit (80-82)
o Balance at work (91-95)

o Control (104-107)
o Flexibility (111-114)
o Thanks (118-119)
o Intrinsic rewards (124-127)
or Civility (130-133)

o Management of civility in the workplace (133-138)
o Respect and Reciprocity (145-147)
o Equality and Equity (148-155)
o Identify problem area of ​​mismatch (176-180)
o Use design guidelines (188-191)

o Build checkpoints in progress (191-195)
o URGENT: Why act now? (198-200)
o An approach to address community mismatches (204-216)
o Lessons learned from making better couples (219-220)
o Future Change (225-232)

The challenge is multidimensional: for individuals, to avoid burnout and to do everything possible to help others do it. Especially for those with direct reports, this book is a “must read” and then reread. For organizations, regardless of their size and nature, the challenge is establishing and then maintaining a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. Jim Collins has a lot to say about getting the right people “on the bus” and would be one of the first to insist that assigning each “passenger” the most appropriate responsibilities is just as important, if not even greater.

To repeat, Christina Maslach and Michael Leitner share their knowledge, wisdom and experience in explaining HOW to avoid or lessen (if not eliminate) burnout at all levels and in all areas of any given company. They stress the importance of identifying crucial gaps and mismatches while realizing that positive adjustment is desirable but never sufficient. Every organization needs a system of continuous improvement, a never-ending process to ensure that the right people are doing what they do best and enjoy the most.

Workers need to see themselves in their jobs. Relationships with others must be flexible and resilient. All must model and exemplify civility; earn mutual respect and trust, as well as appreciation; “keep faith” in themselves and others without taking anyone or anything for granted; be patient but persistent; and in the meantime, be “cautious enough.”

Bottom line: As different as they are in most other ways, all of the companies ranked annually among the most respected and best to work for—the same companies that are also the most profitable—excel in manage the relationships of its workers with their jobs. That’s not a coincidence.

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