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Manage your energy for long-term success

Manage your energy for long-term success

Stress at work can cause professional burnout. How to manage your energy to perform well over the long haul?

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A frequent focus of recent newspaper headlines, professional burnout is a very real phenomenon in business. However, the experts caution us not to jump too quickly to conclusions. Employers are not the only ones to blame! Excessive pressure over a long period of time, chronic overwork, constant change and growing uncertainty are aggravating factors, of course. Yet, in the same context, some people manage to hold their own, while others collapse. And even in environments that are not reputed to be particularly demanding, some employees give too much and burn themselves out.

In fact, psychologists show that certain personality types are more at risk than others. Yet, explain the authors of “Learning from Burnout,” these personality types are precisely those that companies tend to particularly value! Doesn’t every company want to encourage employees who are absolutely devoted, willing to work day and night, and embrace the company’s objectives as their own? Indeed, employers reward such employees for their engagement by entrusting them with stimulating challenges, by promoting them more quickly than others, etc. At first glance, this would seem to be a win-win situation.

This vision of performance is nonetheless short-sighted. When people throw themselves into their work without setting boundaries, they may easily fall into an insidious, destructive spiral. Insidious, because working under pressure triggers the production of specific “feel-good” hormones, such as adrenaline, cortisol, etc., which create a feeling of high power and infallibility. Destructive, because if the body does not sufficiently recover after these periods of stress, the suprarenal glands eventually become exhausted. The physical consequences are extreme fatigue, lack of concentration and forgetfulness, sleep disturbances and loss of appetite, as well as muscular and joint pain. At the same time, irritability, intolerance, growing isolation and depression are often the psychological repercussions.

It’s not a pretty picture. Many successful managers and leaders think that this could never happen to them. They are wrong. One out of every five star performers shows signs of burnout. The ability to manage personal energy as if to run a marathon, rather than a sprint, is a performance issue that all managers should put on their agendas.

Synthèse n°184b


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