Burnout, Work Satisfaction and Reconciliation

August 2022

Recent Gallop analysis has shown that “Career Wellbeing (liking what you do every day) has the strongest impact on overall wellbeing. People with high career wellbeing are more than twice as likely to be thriving in their life overall”.

But high career wellbeing (workplace satisfaction), is not a one-dimensional issue. In other words, it’s not just the hours at work that matter. Quantity of work (hours) does matter, but analysis shows that the quality of work (the entire experience) matters more.

Part of the dilemma for business owners and leaders is that most of us didn’t go into business to manage people. We went into business to create a product, fill a niche, and make a profit. Even those of us who are sole entrepreneurs end up managing people to a significant degree as we work with clients, suppliers, and sub-contractors.

The issue of employee management and well being is critical. Sometimes we don’t realize how critical until a few years down the road, and then it takes time to recognize the source of our discontent and frustration. One day we wake up and realize that the issues we’re dealing with are basically ‘people issues’. We’ve hired a ‘crew’ or maybe ‘multiple crews’ and each of those crews need a leader to help them focus and maintain productivity. Each of those leaders need guidance and nurturing.

Suddenly we’re a manager of people rather than a creative developer of an industry changing ‘widget’. We may find ourselves dreading to go to work or stuck in our ability to do what we really enjoy. Our ‘Career Wellbeing’ is at an unhealthy level (Approaching Burnout) and most likely so is that of our employees.

This is the point where we need to re-align our approach to our own work experience so that we can accurately evaluate the environment we’ve created for our employees. This takes intentionality – often intense intentionality and the help of a coach or some trusted peer advisors. We’ll need to re-evaluate our Objectives and Key Results both personally and corporately.

Where do we want to align our focus and energy? Is it in the original processes of creatively developing our products and services or is it in the arena of developing our people? All the time keeping in mind that the two are inseparable, but that we probably can’t do both ourselves if our organization has a large number of employees.

We need to keep in mind that our ‘career wellbeing’ is integrally tied to that of our employees and therefore integral to the bottom line of production and financial success.

This is a point of ‘Critical Choice’. Can I release control of one or the other of these realms to talented/gifted people thus releasing me to focus on what I enjoy the most?

This doesn’t mean I’m walking away from responsibility, but I’m delegating certain things to trusted people. I’m aligning with my gifts and talents and with the things that give me energy and enjoyment. If I chose to focus on the creative development side, then I find someone I can trust to handle the people issues. If I chose to step into the people management arena, I need to find someone who is capable of leading the creative development of the products and processes of the company.

All of this is what the scripture calls ‘The Ministry of Reconciliation’ and it’s something each of us is called to by the Lord.

Into the Word

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation . . .”
2 Corinthians 5: 17-18

OK, so you might be saying, – ‘Wait a minute, how’d we get to the ministry of reconciliation?’

The key is in the actual meaning of the word reconcile. It means things like, bring together, merge, settle, resolve. We need to realize that biblical principles don’t just apply to ‘spiritual’ issues, but to every aspect of our lives, including our work.

Remember 2 Tim 3:16-17 . . .

Into the Word

“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

2 Tim 3:16-17

What that means is that we have the best resource possible for us to use as we seek to bring the ‘ministry of reconciliation’ into the workplace to create an environment that will enhance the work experience for ourselves and our employees. All the effort you put into your work, fixing broken processes, fighting for justice, creating beauty, making order out of chaos, and creating an environment that enhances the wellbeing of your employees — all of it, is a part of your “ministry of reconciliation.” God is “making his appeal” to a broken world ‘through you’.

So whether you’re dealing with burnout or the addition of a new facility or the development of a new aspect of your business, the principle of reconciliation and the truth and wisdom found in scripture can be applied and can become a testimony to the wisdom and goodness of God.

Interesting things to think about!