I had the great pleasure of working with a group of librarians and library staff last week and wanted to share some of their tips to stop burnout. Some of the top challenges they’re facing are under staffing, stressful patrons who monopolize their time, constant rule breakers, disruptive library patrons, staff in-fighting, the expectation that they will be able to “do more with less”, dealing with multiple demands, and when they make a spectacular effort and pull off a “miracle”, the expectation that the miracle is now the norm.
As we talked about three areas where they can make a difference (drawing from Paula Davis Laach’s recent blog) and not be overwhelmed by burnout, they worked in small groups and shared suggestions.
- Job Control: flexibility and choice, having the doers plan and manage projects, getting the leadership on board v. micromanaging, and having realistic expectations especially around the time it takes to complete tasks.
- Recognition: taking time to recognize small accomplishments, more one-on-one meetings and fewer emails for internal communications, and making staff recognition a standard part of staff meetings.
- Community: remembering to say “thank you”, asking for feedback, being kept in the loop re changes, joining professional organizations and taking advantage of professional learning networks, and building a strong web of connections.
No matter what industry you’re in, these are great suggestions. Please respond to this blog with your ideas. That way we’re all smarter and keep ourselves safe from the damaging effects of burnout.