WHE28: Avoiding Workplace Burnout | with Bill Holston


Office worker overworked


One of the surprising things about workplace burnout is that no one is immune. Even the most engaged, productive, and passionate people can experience burnout — in fact, their dedication may cause them to be even more susceptible than others. In Engaging Leader episode 019, How to Help Your Team Have More Great Days at Work, Chris Rice talked about the risk of high-performing people becoming “Crash and Burners.”

It’s one of the challenges of workforce engagement: helping your most engaged people stay engaged. Extended periods of burnout can result in a decline in performance, health problems related to stress and depression, as well as the worst kind of turnover — losing your very best performers.

Avoiding burnout, in ourselves and in the people we lead, requires a proactive strategy. To talk to us about avoiding workplace burnout, we decided not to invite a psychologist or university professor. Instead, we invited a person with real-world experience as a leader and a professional, who has been recognized by others for his insights into avoiding burnout.

Bill Holston is Executive Director of the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas. In 2012, he left his law practice of 30 years to lead this non-profit organization that provides pro bono legal services for people who come to the United States seeking asylum from political or religious persecution, abusive relationships, or other reasons. Recently, two professional associations invited Bill to speak at their events about avoiding burnout. Based on his wisdom and years of experience, it’s easy to understand why people are finding his insights helpful. After you listen to our conversation, I think you’ll agree.

In this episode, Bill and Jesse discuss these topics:

  • Defining burnout
  • Identifying the problem and causes
  • Who does it impact?
  • What is compassion fatigue?
  • Warning signs in ourselves and in those we lead
  • How can we avoid it?

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