Christina Maslach: The Burnout Challenge
Christina Maslach is the pioneer of research on job burnout, producing the standard assessment tool called the Maslach Burnout Inventory, award-winning articles, and several books, beginning with Burnout: The Cost of Caring, in 1982. Her research achievements over the past five decades have led to multiple awards from the National Academy of Sciences, Western Psychological Association, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and many others.
Christina has received awards for her outstanding teaching, including USA Professor of the Year in 1997. She has been a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley since 1971. Christina is now a core researcher at the Healthy Workplaces Center, at Berkeley, and the author along with Michael Leiter of The Burnout Challenge: Managing People's Relationships With Their Jobs*.
In this conversation, Christina and I address the reality that burnout is often perceived as an issue with just the individual. We explore how leaders can begin to look at the larger picture: context, culture, and management, in order to address burnout more proactively. We discuss key mindsets that will help and a few tactics that almost every leader can use to get started.
- The canary in the coal mine is an indicator of a problem, not the source of it.
- Our tendency is to focus on the person (the figure) and to miss all the context and environment factors (the ground).
- Burnout is first and foremost a management issue. “Fixing” the person should not be the focus — instead, get curious about where there is a mismatch.
- Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with the person, shift to what may be wrong in the relationship between the person and situation.
- Ensure you have a plan for communicated survey results. If you’d done surveys previously, share those results and also the actions the organization had taken before engaging in more surveys.
- The Burnout Challenge: Managing People's Relationships With Their Jobs* by Christina Maslach and Michael Leiter
Download my interview notes in PDF format (free membership required).
- Gallup Findings on the Changing Nature of Work, with Jim Harter (episode 409)
- How to Reduce Burnout, with Jennifer Moss (episode 561)
- How to Compare Yourself to Others, with Mollie West Duffy (episode 582)
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