Fear of speaking out leads to burnout

Employees of Russian companies suffer from emotional burnout due to the authoritarian management style of managers, for fear of expressing disagreement with the organization’s policies. Russian and American psychologists came to such conclusions after interviewing residents of Perm.

Burnout at work, according to social psychologist Christina Maslach, is divided into three levels: emotional and physical exhaustion; decline in professional achievements, cynical attitude to work; a sense of alienation from the company and the team. An employee with such a problem begins to skip and wants to quit, he is no longer worried about professional success. To find out the reasons for this situation, scientists from the Higher School of Economics and the University of North Dakota conducted a written survey of 237 Russians – 117 men and 120 women aged 18 to 57, who work full-time in various companies. The questionnaire included demographic questions and several scales measuring the level of disagreement with the employer’s organizational policy, the level of emotional burnout, and also how the company created the conditions for maintaining a balance between family and work.

It turned out that employees experience chronic stress. This is consistent with the available scientific evidence that it can affect up to 70% of the working population. The researchers see the reason for this in the fact that Russia’s entry into international markets after the collapse of the USSR led to a sharp increase in competition, requirements for skills and qualifications both in ordinary and in leadership positions. Another stress factor is the authoritarian management style prevalent in domestic companies. It does not leave workers freedom to express their own opinions. Additional difficulties are experienced by women, since in our country it is from them that society demands the upbringing of children, housekeeping and taking care of the family, while men have fewer such expectations.

This situation leads to an imbalance between family and work. At the same time, for the sake of image and prestige, companies often formally support family values ​​and develop support programs, but in reality they often remain fictions. Lack of support from superiors, coupled with work overload, leads to burnout, which in turn further exacerbates the imbalance between family and work. But for those who can hope for real support from managers and can disagree with the company’s policy and receive feedback, the likelihood of burnout is reduced. These workers feel more comfortable and less guilty when they prioritize family responsibilities.

Scientists have already named the silence of their dissatisfaction as one of the signs of emotional burnout. In their opinion, at this moment the employees simply do not have the strength for an open confrontation. They feel alienated from the team and lose motivation to do anything.

“In an ideal work environment, employees may complain about even minor, upsetting events before they become major sources of stress,” the study authors note. “Therefore, a democratic organizational climate that encourages disagreement is key in combating burnout at work.”

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