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The Truth About Burnout

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The Truth About Burnout

How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do About It


15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

You could just fire all the unhappy people — or you could fix the burnout bonfires that company policy has ignited.

Editorial Rating



Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter’s groundbreaking book debunks myths about burnout and holds organizations accountable for this epidemic, which has swept the work world. The authors detail how organizations can treat and prevent burnout, and take a critical look at its deep-rooted causes, including lack of engagement and conflict between employees’ values and their jobs. Conversationally and with great impact, the authors support their points and suggestions. recommends this book to executives, managers and employees. Now go home and get some rest.


The Burnout Crisis

Burnout is an epidemic in today’s workforce among employees and executives at every level, from cashiers to CEOs. The symptoms of burnout include anxiety and strain, lack of self-confidence, a sense that no one understands or appreciates you and a feeling of estrangement.

What organizational factors are behind endemic burnout? When a corporation deliberately shrinks, fires an arbitrary percent of people or ships jobs off-shore, the remaining employees are under tremendous pressure. This does not mean that, as some myths allege, people are accountable for their own burnout. This responsibility belongs to the organization. Companies with high burnout rates can trace the problem directly to their own policies and internal dysfunction.

By using the proper strategies and policies, you can eliminate many of the problems that provoke burnout. Companies afflicted by burnout need a new approach to creating a healthy organization. This strategy includes evaluation, setting new goals, intervening in any on-going burnout crisis and preventing any future flare ups of burnout.

What Builds Burnout

Factors that contribute to burnout include:

About the Authors

Christina Maslach is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the creator of the widely used psychological test instrument The Maslach Burnout Inventory and the author of Burnout: The Cost of Caring. Michael P. Leiter is dean of the faculty of pure and applied science and a professor of psychology at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is also director of the Centre for Organizational Research and Development.

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