The words you use to describe how you feel at work matter.
Take the term "burnout." It's so generic, people throw it around all the time in the office when they’re feeling exhausted. But really, few people are at the point where they’re about to chuck it all, quit their job, and start all over.
A more accurate description for how people are feeling might be the one that Mike Kibler, founder and CEO of Corporate Balance Concepts, calls "brown out."
Kibler describes this as a "graduated loss of passion, of openness, of ‘collaborative-ness’" at work. Consider it the state you reach before you completely burn out.
Through his work, Kibler has seen a lot of people in this state: they’re dissatisfied with their job, but they can’t quite pinpoint what’s wrong. He says it’s not surprising considering how work is changing because of globalization, technology, market consolidation and the workforce itself, as Baby Boomers retire and Millennials start to replace them.
In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Kibler says there is a solution for a boss trying to spark some life back into a “browned-out” employee. And it’s pretty simple: Talk to them. Show them you care.
One of the easiest places Kibler recommends doing this is during the annual review. If taken seriously, this can be a time when you as a manager can broach not just professional issues, but more personal questions and take a moment to consider an employee as a "whole person.” And if you are the employee, it can be a time of reflection on what motivates and excites you.
"It has to be customized for every person," Kibler said.
Check out the entire interview and even Kibler's attempt to model how a boss could broach personal subjects with Money Talking host Charlie Herman.
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