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Why Do Managers Burn Out?

  • “One day I suddenly realized I didn’t care if I won the latest battle with Personnel. I was just worn out after five years of fighting and hassling over every penny.”
  • “It’s a hopelessly devitalizing job— you’re constantly giving of yourself and seldom getting anything in return.”
  • “If my salary were increased by an infinite amount, I still wouldn’t be paid enough to deal with my frustrations and dislikes in my job.”

These remarks of former managers highlight a serious problem of managerial “burnout". Burnout leading to turnover rate is clearly not an encouraging factor for individuals who hope to build a career in the field of management, nor is it healthy for companies that must continually break in new managers.

To lower the frequency of burnout, companies must first understand what job related issues cause the highest levels of burnout among managers:

  • Scarcity of Resources: Budget cuts in their department with the same level of expected output can be extremely frustrating for managers. Companies need to understand that if they cut support staff, work flow will inevitably slow down.

  • Scarcity of Benefits: With more women entering the work force, benefits such as flex-time and child care are becoming not only a plus to a job, but a major job enhancement. In addition, many managers see paternity leave and gym memberships as especially appealing. When these managers are employed by companies and various situations necessitate these benefits, companies that are unwilling to even consider them may be unconsciously encouraging burnout within these managers.

  • Overwhelming Diversity of Responsibilities: Managers not only oversee business activities and activities of the individuals, but they must also assume the roles of lawyer, teacher, counselor, accountant, advocate, planner, entrepreneur, advertiser, supervisor and evaluator. Often it is difficult for managers to maintain control in all of these aspects. As soon as they might submit a feasible budget request, they might need to resolve a conflict between two employees. Once the conflict is settled, the previously submitted budget is rejected by the board of directors. Although managers are expected to fulfill a variety of roles by the nature of their job, companies often expect too much in the way of an overload of responsibilities.

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