Burnout is everywhere. As leaders, we can convince ourselves that burnout isn’t a problem among our teams. But all too often, it’s a bigger problem than we think!

Let’s dive into some lesser-known signs of an exhausted, disillusioned team – it may not be what you expect

Sick Days as Rebellion

Every office has its fair share of sick days, right? Well, think again. When your crew starts stockpiling sick days like they’re planning a great escape, it’s time to smell the smoke.

A few sick days here and there is one thing. Illness happens. But if a lot of different team members are taking extra sick time, that’s a HUGE red flag.

It means they’re willing to lie to their leaders just to get away from work!

Short-Staffed or Overloaded: Two Sides of the Burnout Coin

Understaffing might be the obvious villain, but don’t let overstaffing off the hook. When you’re piling on more employees than a sinking ship can handle, it’s a blatant attempt to paper over a far deeper issue – some of your team members are mentally MIA.

They’re punching in but mentally checking out, and the only solution seems to be an influx of warm bodies. It’s a smokescreen hiding a much bigger issue.

The Sound of Silence in Meetings

If you’re a leader, you’ve been there. You’re in a meeting, you toss out a question, and all you get in response is a silence so thick it’s suffocating.

That silence isn’t a void of ideas; it’s a scream for change. Employees aren’t hushed because they’re devoid of thoughts; it’s because they’ve discovered that their voices fall on deaf ears, or worse, they fear retaliation for being honest.

The silence isn’t golden; it’s the sign of a smoldering burnout.

1:1 Conversations That Fizzle Out

One-on-one conversations are where the real truth emerges, but when your team goes mute, it’s a telltale sign of burnout.

While vocal discontent might be the obvious alarm bells, there’s another, edgier red flag: the eerie quiet. When employees stop sharing their thoughts, it’s a chilling indicator that they’ve lost faith in the system.

If you recognize some of these signs at your organization, it’s time to do something about the issue – fast. The longer you let burnout and low engagement run their course, the more damage they are going to do to your organization.

The worst part about burnout is that it can be contagious!

So What Can You Actually Do About Burnout?

The #1 step you can take to alleviate burnout and drive engagement is to develop your leaders!

Whether it’s other leaders at your organization or even your own leadership abilities, we all have room for growth. The best leaders NEVER stop learning in order to grow their leadership capabilities.

Besides…if you’re not growing your abilities as a leader, how can you ask your team to grow themselves, or work on self-improvement?

Take Advantage of 1:1 Conversations

1:1 conversations are another key to improving engagement and beating burnout. These conversations are your opportunity to not only understand where your team members are engagement-wise, but to coach them and inspire them to be more engaged for their own sake. Learn about what’s important to your people – and remind them that their work performance matters.

They can’t save for their kids’ college fund as effectively if they never get a raise or promotions because they’re burnt out. They can’t advance their career if they are checked out every time they’re in the office. Remind them that their performance matters – and of the potential you know they are capable of!

Don’t Let Burnout Win

Some people are prone to burnout. And some people won’t be engaged no matter where they work. But as a leader, you have a LOT of influence on whether someone shows up and gives it their best shot at work. It’s an honor and a privilege to be in your shoes – act accordingly and take these steps to help bring out the best in those around you!