Empowering Leaders to Combat Burnout: A Guide for Business Owners, Leaders, and the Self-Employed

thrive not just survive burnout article

In today’s fast-paced business environment, the health and well-being of employees have become paramount. A recent study by AFLAC found that about half (48%) of all employees believe their employers care about them. This perception of care significantly impacts job satisfaction, with over 84% of employees who feel cared for reporting high job satisfaction, compared to just 32% among those who do not feel cared for. However, a concerning 57% of those surveyed reported experiencing moderate to very high levels of burnout. This data underscores a critical need for business owners, leaders, and self-employed individuals to prioritize employee well-being and address burnout proactively.

The Importance of Empathy in Leadership

Empathy in leadership is not just a nice-to-have quality; it is essential for the health and productivity of the workforce. When employees feel that their leaders genuinely care about their well-being, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, committed to their work, and less likely to experience burnout. Leaders who demonstrate empathy can create a supportive and nurturing work environment, which is crucial for employee retention and overall organizational success.

Recognizing and Addressing Burnout

The first step in combating burnout is recognizing its presence. Burnout is not always obvious, and employees may not openly discuss their struggles. Leaders need to be vigilant and proactive in identifying signs of burnout, which can include chronic fatigue, decreased performance, disengagement, and increased absenteeism.

Strategies to Combat Burnout

  1. Promote Open Communication: Encourage an open-door policy where employees feel safe to express their concerns and challenges. Regular check-ins and anonymous surveys can provide valuable insights into employee well-being and help identify potential burnout risks early on.
  2. Provide Adequate Resources: Ensure that employees have access to the necessary resources to perform their jobs effectively. This includes not only physical tools but also mental health support such as counseling services and stress management programs.
  3. Encourage Work-Life Balance: Promote a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible work schedules, remote work options, and adequate vacation time. Leaders should model these behaviors themselves to set a positive example.
  4. Offer Professional Development: Provide opportunities for professional growth and development. This can help employees feel valued and motivated, reducing the likelihood of burnout. Training programs, workshops, and mentorship opportunities are excellent ways to invest in your team’s future.
  5. Recognize and Reward Efforts: Regularly acknowledge and reward employees’ hard work and achievements. Recognition can boost morale and reinforce a positive work environment. Simple gestures such as verbal praise, awards, or bonuses can make a significant difference.

Empowering Managers to Lead with Care

Empowering managers to listen, care, and act on employee burnout is crucial. Managers are often the first line of defense against burnout, and their actions can significantly impact their team’s well-being.

  1. Training and Development: Equip managers with the skills and knowledge needed to recognize and address burnout. Training programs focused on emotional intelligence, stress management, and effective communication can be highly beneficial.
  2. Delegation and Support: Encourage managers to delegate tasks effectively and provide support to their team members. Overburdening managers themselves can lead to a trickle-down effect of stress and burnout among employees.
  3. Creating a Supportive Culture: Foster a culture where it is acceptable to discuss mental health openly. Managers should be encouraged to lead by example and create a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable seeking help.

Thrive Not Just Survive: A Program for Combating Burnout

To further support leaders in addressing burnout, Amazon bestselling author Phil Gerbyshak offers the program “Thrive Not Just Survive Burnout” coming to Wilsonville on June 18th, 2024. This program is designed to equip leaders with the strategies and tools needed to be more aware of burnout, prevent it, and help employees bounce back better from its effects.

Phil’s program emphasizes the importance of awareness, providing practical tips for recognizing the early signs of burnout. It also offers prevention strategies, such as fostering a positive work environment and promoting healthy work habits. Additionally, the program includes techniques for recovery, helping employees rebuild their resilience and regain their motivation.


Addressing employee burnout is not just a matter of improving job satisfaction; it is a vital component of a successful and sustainable business strategy. By empowering managers to lead with care and providing the necessary support and resources, business owners and leaders can create a work environment where employees thrive, not just survive. Programs like Phil Gerbyshak’s “Thrive Not Just Survive Burnout” offer valuable insights and practical strategies to help leaders navigate this challenge effectively. Investing in employee well-being is an investment in the future success of your business.

Take the first step towards a healthier, more productive workplace by recognizing the signs of burnout, promoting a supportive culture, and empowering your managers to lead with empathy and care. Your employees will thank you, and your business will thrive as a result.

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