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Defending Against Personal Burnout & Frustration

By Timothy Bednarz, Ph.D.

Many leaders will associate the implementation of change in their organization with elevated levels of stress, frustration and anxiety. These pressures, combined with a typical staff reduction requiring leaders to accomplish more, can lead to personal burnout.

It is important for leaders to understand that large, overwhelming changes will typically shake up the entire organization as wholesale modifications occur in the way business is conducted. The process is time intensive and traumatic for everyone involved, and people require time to recuperate after the event is over

While quick or frequent change can lead to burnout, leaders can use the strategies outlined in this section to defend against burnout and frustration � even in the face of ongoing change.

Part of the job

Effective leaders accept that change is a normal function associated with their jobs. In this way, change is no longer perceived as an event that threatens the organization, but simply a normal function of everyday business activity.

Managers embracing change will plan small, incremental adjustments that help their organization slowly evolve and adapt. As a result, the company will eventually see an increase in productivity and efficiency. It takes a change in management perception, to reduce both stress and pressures that once were associated with organizational change.

Anticipate rather than resist

When people oppose change in their organization, they end up focusing their energy on resistance rather than acceptance. This focus saps the energy required to maintain productivity and effectiveness, ultimately leading to burnout.

On the other hand, leaders who accept and anticipate change learn to harness its momentum to their benefit, using that energy to enact change throughout the organization. Thus producing positive outcomes and results.


When organizations implement far-reaching changes out of necessity, it can be overwhelming. Many of these changes include layoffs, which increase the intensity of the situation and overburden the leader. However, when supervisors plan for ongoing change, adjustments are made in small, incremental steps that allow the organization to transform itself on its own terms. When approached this way, wholesale organizational change is eliminated along with the stress and intensity of the adjustments.


The incorporation of small, incremental changes into daily activities allows the organization to grow and evolve while simultaneously increasing productivity, effectiveness and efficiency. This incremental nature of change allows leaders to build it seamlessly into the organizational culture.

Once the organization accepts change as a daily occurrence, managers are less like to feel pressured � which greatly reduces personal burnout from frustration and anxiety.


Leaders that learn to accept and incorporate change into their daily responsibilities also learn the value of experimenting with new ideas and concepts. They discover that small changes can be tested with minimal impact, and lessons can be learned from all successes and failures. These lessons are ultimately incorporated into adaptations made by the organization.

Experimentation also helps supervisors reduce risks associated with change. And less risk equals less stress, frustration and anxiety � all of which are associated with burnout.

(From the �Impact of Change on Individuals: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series,� by Timothy Bednarz.�

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