Updated: Feb 5, 2021
It's pretty draining to be a people manager. For all of the highs, there are equally as many lows and if you are a people manager that really cares about your staff, it's hard not to become emotionally fatigued at some point in your career.
Compassion fatigue is a well known phenomenon in the service industry. People like nurses, teachers, counsellors are all far more likely to suffer from compassion fatigue than the average Joe. But managers and HR professionals tend to get overlooked in this area, and I think its a shame. People managers deal with the day to day ups and downs of emotions, feelings, behaviours and attitudes of their teams, but also live through any trauma that may be going on in their employees lives. HR professionals provide support, comfort and direction to employees going through some of the very best, and the very worst of times.
Do you ever have those days where it seems like your clients aren't happy, your staff aren't happy and you're looking skyward to see if the full moon is to blame? Invariably you develop a bit of a negative lens through which you start viewing the day, wondering what else could go wrong..... You've 'caught' the negativity bug and can't seem to pull yourself out?
Or maybe you've had a really busy month or year, and supporting your staff through some things that aren't particularly fun to deal with, and you begin to dread going in to the office and you feel so tired and drained of dealing with people's emotions that you just. cant. even.....
Burnout and compassion fatigue is a serious issue, and you need to check yourself on the regular to make sure that you pick up any signs when they arise and ask for support.
Things you can do to avoid burnout and compassion fatigue:
- Set boundaries. Leave work on time, don't check emails outside of work hours and try not to bring people problems home to stew on
- Talk to someone. Your EAP, a mentor, your manager - sometimes it helps to simply talk about how you're feeling with a non-judgemental audience
- Make sure you're taking your leave. It's easy to put off taking annual leave and holidays during a pandemic.... I mean, it's not as if you can travel far! But it's really important to take time out from your role to reset and have a break - even if you are just spending the days napping and watching netflix at home!
- Realise when you can and can't provide support. It's appropriate as a people manager to provide a certain level of emotional and behavioural support, but it's important to realise when you have reached the limit of what you can achieve, and know the steps to take to ensure that more suitable support is provided
You can also call us, and we will look after your people when you aren't feeling very Peoplee!