Nonprofit burnout is a constant challenge given the weight and magnanimity of the issues we are tackling. We may be acutely aware of how large the issue is and how small a percentage of people are actually getting helped. We may also be too aware of the long hours, few benefits, and generally speaking lower than market rate pay we’re receiving as social sector employees. Often times this spills out as negativity in the work place. Here are some tips for finding out if you’re the toxic person at work, and how to redirect.
Focus on Your Growth
Taking a step back can feel uncomfortable and possibly even irresponsible with your to do list constantly growing. Despite that, continuing to grow in your role and as a professional in the field is critical to not getting disenchanted with the social sector. Focusing on your growth offers opportunities for collaboration, connection, and re-energized fresh approaches to your work.
Create Spaces for Reflection
When we work somewhere that is dealing with major issues, like hunger or child abuse, we often burnout or are pulled in so many directions that we might not be desensitized to how we talk about our work. We might complain, we might talk a bit too objectively about really difficult issues, and we might feel overwhelmed by moving the needle. Consider what time we set aside for reflection. While it might feel like it’s taking time away from other mission focused work, remind yourself that this self care allows you to bring your whole self more effectively to work.
- Being a manager is a skill that we need to cultivate like any other. While some start out with natural propensities, we each can always learn new strategies to being the best manager, and investing in ourselves only helps us better deliver on the missions we’re trying to serve. Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy offers a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and the University of Southern California offers a Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management.
- Try spending time in constructive reflection, like using the Simple Habit meditation app, or following Vu Le’s guided reflection for nonprofit employees.
- Build connections through formal programs that will support your growth. Take a look at the American Express Leadership Academy, Southern California Grantmaker’s Peer to Peer Networks, or the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
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