All our businesses depend upon the good will, continued support, and referrals of external as well as internal customers. But, how we serve and care for each other in our enterprises will ultimately be reflected in those clients who pay the bills.


In May 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed burnout in its classification of occupational hazards. Around the globe, all manner of industries were reporting high levels of exhaustion, loss of productivity, cynicism, and disengagement.  Fast forward to 2020 and we find the burnout percentage increasing exponentially.   A remote workforce is now not only handling longer hours, but the possible stress of juggling family demands.


It makes serving each other and our external customers incredibly challenging.


In March of this year, Gallup released a survey of the top five factors that correlate most highly to employee burnout.


  1. Unfair treatment at work
  2. Unmanageable workload
  3. Unclear communication from managers
  4. Lack of manager support
  5. Unreasonable time pressure


So here’s the deal. Happy employees create happy customers. The leadership challenge is to create a courageous culture that invites, encourages, and rewards candid, honest conversation around these five factors.


Listen non-defensively with empathy, compassion, and curiosity. Start small with just one of these factors. Great leaders are able to hear feedback and make adjustments, accept ownership for practices that contribute to burnout, and also encourage such conversation among team members.


The competitive advantage is moving from burned out to fired up. Now THAT’S a breakthrough.



Eileen McDargh has been called a hope merchant although she says she has been put on earth for comic relief.  She’s an internationally recognized keynote speaker, master facilitator, and award-winning author with expertise in resiliency and leadership.  Her articles have appeared in countless publications and two of her seven books have been awarded national recognition. Her newest book Burnout to Breakthrough: Building Resilience to Refuel, Recharge, and Reclaim What Matters presents an ingenious new way of analyzing burnout and shows how to develop four critical skills for building effective resilience.