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All of us have days where we’re not feeling as motivated or as energetic as usual. That’s perfectly normal.

But when that aimlessness lasts for days or for weeks, the only name for it is burnout—and when burnout starts spreading to your employees, it can derail the productivity of your entire team.

Now, to be clear, leaders cannot always prevent burnout from happening. Sometimes, employees will experience burnout due to factors beyond your control. Indeed, your team members each have their own responsibility to remain engaged.

With that said, you, too, can help your employees keep their hearts and minds focused and committed to the work at hand. And engagement really is a big part of it.

Engagement is the Cure for Burnout

What I mean by that is that the way to prevent burnout doesn’t necessarily have much to do with throwing big parties, or going on team retreats, or letting people wear jeans on Fridays, or installing an air hockey table in your break room.

There’s nothing wrong with any of those things—but to prevent burnout, the best thing you can do is show your team members where they fit into the puzzle, and why their individual contributions matter so much.

See, that’s why people start to feel burned out: They worry that their own role doesn’t matter, or that there’s nothing they can do to truly make a difference. To keep them engaged, you have to show them otherwise.

How? Here are some simple strategies:

  • Make sure each team member has a clearly defined job description, one that emphasizes what they bring to the big picture.
  • Regularly communicate with your team members what the mission and values of your company are; make sure everyone knows what the company is trying to achieve, and how they can play a part in that.
  • Share results. As your team makes progress toward big objectives, show them how the work they are doing matters.
  • Regularly touch base with individual employees to remind them of how they fit into the big picture, and address any questions they have about the company vision.
  • Welcome feedback from your team members, allowing them to have a sense of ownership in our team’s endeavors.

You can do much to safeguard your team from burnout—and it starts by simply helping them see themselves within the broader vision of your company.