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How to Address Manager Burnout & Improve Performance Outcomes

Get tips on how to identify manager burnout and create a supportive network here.

The role of a manager is vital in supporting business growth and creating a positive workplace culture that drives team morale, productivity, and engagement. With this level of responsibility, it's no surprise that managers are at high risk of burnout. The pressure to meet deadlines, achieve goals and ensure team success can take a significant toll on their mental health.

A recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting in partnership with Modern Health revealed that 79% of employees would be more likely to stay at a company that provides high-quality resources to care for their mental health. Unsurprisingly, the number is even higher among managers, at 81%.

These statistics paint a clear picture of the importance of mental health support in the workplace, especially for managers who carry an enormous responsibility. 

This article educates employers on the prevalence of managerial burnout and offers a few recommendations to better support this core group of employees.

The Prevalence of Manager Burnout

C-level leaders plan to cut support for managers. Only 52% will help managers identify signs and symptoms of burnout and stress within the next two years. 

This is on par with Gallup’s research that suggests managers are more likely than the people they manage to experience burnout. This could be because the demands of a managerial position contribute to burnout. 

Managers are also 67% more likely to strongly agree they have a lot of interruptions at work. A third report is that the demands of the job interfere with daily life. 

Nearly half report multiple competing priorities. Furthermore, the average manager's workweek is half a day longer than the average employer's.

On top of these personal concerns, our research also shows that 67% of managers are concerned about how major world events impact their team members' mental health. Further research reveals that little is being done to alleviate managers' pressure. Although 68% of HR leaders agree that many managers are overwhelmed by their responsibilities in today's hybrid work model, only 14% of organizations have changed manager role design to reduce their obligations.

How To Prevent Employee Burnout 

Burnout has serious consequences that can result in additional health conditions and impact an employee’s overall well-being. As a result, the health care costs associated with burnout globally. are estimated to be as high as $322 billion a year. 

By championing employee well-being, employers can combat burnout and help employees thrive and bring their best selves to work daily. It starts with implementing workplace policies to achieve the following.

Encourage Employees to Prioritize Their Mental and Physical Health

A big component for improving employee well-being is empowering employees to prioritize their mental and physical health regardless of their seniority level, company deadlines, and busy work schedules. All too often, company culture supports excessive workloads and long hours, which can often be worse for managers. That’s why reversing this trend requires consistent encouragement from workplace leaders and executives, as well as a change in organizational policies. 

To start, encourage employees to follow these workplace wellness best practices:

  • Get 7-9 hours of interrupted sleep each night
  • Take at least one 5-minute break every hour of work
  • Take at least one 30-60 minute break during long stretches of work (4+ hours) for a nap, walk, or meal
  • Utilize employer-provided ergonomic equipment and healthy snacks

Reduce Chronic Stress

Stressful situations in the workplace can contribute to burnout. According to research, lack of control, excessive workloads, and unfairness in the workplace significantly contribute to job stress that commonly leads to burnout. 

Take these steps to help reduce chronic stress in the workplace:

  • Provide equity-based opportunities for involvement (e.g., decision-making and autonomy)
  • Provide opportunities for growth and development (like new project assignments, professional development programs, and clear pathways to promotion)
  • Encourage work-life balance with required time off
  • Recognize employees for their work with monetary compensation, performance-based bonuses, and recognition events
  • Paid mental health days are highly recommended

Provide Resources for Managers and Employees

Sufficient resources are an important part of combatting burnout. By providing managers with resources to understand and help employees to care for their mental health, you can help both parties avoid burnout. 

Modern Health provides essential resources for both managers and employees, including:

  • Content for managers to work on active listening skills and to prevent burnout
  • Participation in Circles management group sessions on topics relevant to well-being and management
  • Digital content for employees that include topics foundational to wellness
  • Participation in Circles for employees to build a sense of community
  • Opportunities for employees to work one-on-one with a coach or therapist

Provide Mental Health Days

Sometimes called wellness days, mental health days provide a true break from work demands that contribute to burnout and mental and physical concerns. According to a recent survey, 80% of workers would contemplate leaving their current job for a role that prioritizes the mental well-being of employees.  

Use these tips to design a mental health day policy:

  • Provide mental health days in addition to established PTO
  • Provide mental health days with no questions asked
  • Include executive leadership messaging as part of the rollout strategy
  • Provide resources to employees with information about your organization's mental health strategy

How To Spot the Signs of Burnout

Workplace burnout is caused by chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. There are various ways to measure burnout. Learning how to recognize the signs of burnout can help you take steps to address the causes. 

Elevated Stress Levels

Researchers have identified six categories of job stress that lead to burnout. The six categories of job stress include:

  • Lack of control over the job tasks, decisions, and scheduling
  • Excessive workload and long hours
  • Limited rewards and recognition for work completed
  • Lack of community or sense of belonging in the workplace
  • Unfairness in the workplace, including lack of equitable treatment and actions that fail to match company policies
  • An organizational culture that conflicts with company mission statements and the personal values of employees

Lower Work Quality

WHO includes reduced professional efficacy as one of three dimensions that characterize burnout. Lower work quality, like increased errors, low productivity, and limited collaboration with other team members, may be signs of burnout.


Burnout is caused by ongoing conditions in which job demands continually outweigh the resources provided by employers. These conditions can lead to workplace negativity and irritability when attempting to complete work tasks.


Burnout is directly linked to impaired job performance, including less commitment to the organization, increased absences, and increased presenteeism.


WHO also includes mental distance from one's job or feelings of negativism or cynicism as signs. Employees suffering from burnout may have negative opinions about new assignments or work hours. 


Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion is another one of the three dimensions of burnout. Coworkers or managers may recognize this as low energy or minimal participation.

How To Address Manager Burnout

While the requirements of a manager's position present more of the burdens that cause burnout, managerial positions have certain perks that help combat burnout. For example, research from Gallup shows managers are 31% more likely than other employees to feel that their opinions count, receive over 30% more feedback, and have more control over their work. 

Many managers are proud of their roles and eager to help employees succeed. As a result, taking these steps to address manager burnout can help employers avoid its consequences.

Address Burnout Head On

Burnout occurs across all occupations, and no job holders are free of risk. Address the causes of burnout on a company-wide scale to reduce stressors and improve conditions for both managers and employees. Educate leaders about the six areas of work life and empower them to make modifications when employee feedback reveals imbalances.

Have Open and Honest Conversations

HR and executive professionals should provide personal attention to managers, including periodically checking in on manager stress levels. Encourage managers to conduct these practices with employees as well. Offer training and opportunities to practice mindfulness, resilience skills, and stress management to encourage workplace conversations surrounding mental health that reduce stigma around seeking care.

Stress the Importance of Employee Well-Being With Words and Actions

To encourage healthy mental and physical habits, it's important to talk about them and take action to help employees feel comfortable using provided resources. Here’s what you can do:

  • Periodically check in with employees of all levels to get an idea of their feelings
  • Encourage workplace conversations about mental health and ideas for improvement
  • Encourage employees to take steps to improve mental well-being and use your own actions as an example
  • Discourage an always-on mentality and don't model always-on behavior
  • Respect employees' challenges,  including exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of inefficacy, by providing effective, long-term solutions

Be Proactive

Get ahead of burnout with proactive steps that help alleviate work stress before it results in burnout, such as:

  • Provide easy low or no-cost access to trained mental health professionals and coaches to engage struggling employees
  • Develop effective job resources, including training, pathways for development, and tools ranging from information to technology
  • Adopt policies that allow employees time and opportunities to support each other

Look for Ways To Reduce Workload

Reduce workplace tasks for managers by delegating appropriate tasks to a  virtual assistant. Encourage time for restorative rest, including paid vacation and mental health days.

Make Your Organization a Place Where Both Managers and Employees Can Thrive

Managers are not immune to burnout and often face similar stressors as employees. Furthermore, managers are facing increased burdens and a responsibility to improve the engagement of their team members. 

By providing managers with essential support and resources, you can help them avoid burnout and allow them to better support team members. Schedule a demo to learn more about how Modern Health can help you prevent manager burnout.

Modern Health

Modern Health is the comprehensive mental wellness platform that combines the WHO well-being assessment, self-service wellness kits, an international network of certified coaches, and licensed therapists available in 35 languages all in a single app. Modern Health empowers employers to lead the charge in acknowledging that mental health is just as important as physical health, de-stigmatizing the conversation, and increasing accessibility of mental health services for all.