Burnout Flares

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It was just a month ago when I asked a client – “How are you doing?” He replied with what seemed to be an emotional response.  We were on Zoom and it was hard to tell, but he replied with “You are the first person that has asked me how I am doing since March 13th.” I was astonished because this was a sign of burnout and that his leader may not be engaged in his life.

This prompted me to create the following table to give you a lens to see the “Conversational Flares” that may ignite when speaking to your direct reports, your team or peers.  A flare is flame launched into the air to indicate that someone needs help or is in danger.  In conversations, people shoot flares into the air wondering if the listener will offer support.  Typically, the best support is listening. These flares are opportunities for you to influence and help others succeed.

Take a look at the table below.  As a reminder, burnout indicators include – exhaustion, cynicism and decline in effectiveness.  The Questions to Explore column will allow you to meet the person where they are at and help them take the next step.

          Flares                                                                  Questions To Explore

“You are the first person that has asked me how I am doing.” Or “I give and I give without asking for anything in return.” -Exhaustion


What do you need from your boss or other relationships? OR If you were to ask for something in return what would that be?


“I am not sleeping.” – Exhaustion  

Tell me about your pre-sleep rituals and how that is supporting or not supporting your sleep goals


“Yesterday during the Executive Team meeting I lashed out at an employee.”  – Cynicism and Professional Efficacy  

What were the warning signs of that episode?  How did you rectify and own that situation?


“It is getting harder and harder for me to come into the office.” -Cynicism and Exhaustion  

What type of impact do you want to have?  Describe the job support available to you currently.