May 20

Episode 36: How Best to Prevent Burnout in the Workplace with Davida Ginter


Burnout is something that is often misunderstood, and it is often left untreated in the workplace. But, prevention and management are so important not just for the individual but for leaders and co-workers. Emotions are contagious, so everyone in the workplace needs to work as a team to help everyone stay healthy and balanced. 

Davida Ginter was Mike’s special guest for this video, and she has quite an exciting career.

Davida Ginter’s Biography

  • Davida Ginter is the Co-founder and CEO of Enkindle Global and the author of the book “Burning Out Won’t Get You There.” She specializes in Participatory Leadership processes and operates on a global scale to support leaders and organizations in preventing burnout, cultivating well-being, and developing emotional resilience.
  • Davida’s Personal –
  • Davida’s Book –

In This Episode, You’ll Learn…

  • It’s essential to understand what burnout is. It’s not stress or depression. 
  • Her company was founded to challenge the status quo and approach aspects of work in new ways. 
  • As we are a year into the pandemic, there is data on how its affected employees. Burnout, stress, depression, and other problems are exceptionally high. 
  • Working from home seems well, but people are reporting the struggle to establish boundaries to separate work from home. In addition, people complain about spouses working more than they used to because they are doing it from home. These situations lead to stress and burnout. 
  • A person needs to find the best practices for them that help them manage stress and burnout. Meditation, for example, may work for some people. It may not work for everyone. But actively connecting with people is a need for most of us, and being at home all the time can make us feel disconnected. 
  • Balance is also essential to manage stress and prevent burnout. For example, if one works in a noisy environment all day, they may need quiet when they’re at home. They also need time to nurture emotions, health, and other essential aspects. 
  • How does your reward system work? Does productivity measure it? Do you measure competition? How are you ensuring that all of your employees are valued?
  • Redefine success. Challenge your definition of success. Often you realize you measure the wrong things, or you do not measure enough of some things. For example, a person’s emotional well-being is one aspect that may not be measured enough. 
  • Emotions are contagious (emotional contagion). One person’s misery can make the rest of the office miserable. So, leaders need to understand how important it is to help keep the environment and workplace healthy in every aspect.


  • Burnout is  “a constant chronic stress related to the work we’re doing that has not been successfully menced.”
  • It’s about cultivating an environment that genuinely cares about its people. 
  • Stress, in itself, is not bad. Stress unchecked and untreated is. 
  • We need to be mindful of the power of connecting. You need to have a support system in place.
  • You need to find a balance between individual contribution and collaboration.
  • Pause the self-judgment, and cultivate more self-empathy, especially as leaders.

Links & Resources Mentioned…

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Read The Transcript

Episode #36

Mike O'Neill: Welcome back to the Get Unstuck & On Target Podcast. I'm Mike O'Neill with Bench Builders and we're business coaches who love to help leaders get unstuck and sleep better. In this podcast, we're talking with thought leaders to uncover tips to help you break down the barriers that may be keeping you or your business stuck.

Joining me today is Davida Ginter. Davida is the co-founder and CEO of Enkindle Global and the author of the book Burning Out Won't Get You There. Welcome Davida. 

Davida Ginter: Thank you so much, Mike, for having me lovely to be here today. 

Mike O'Neill: Davida, I practice your last name and I don't think I got it out on the first try correctly. I was trying to say Geetha is that the proper pronunciation? 

Davida Ginter: That's exactly right.

Mike O'Neill: So Davida Ginter let me tell our listeners more about Davida. She specializes in participatory leadership processes and operates a global scaled company that supports leaders and organizations in preventing burnout. In addition, she helps individuals and organizations, cultivate wellbeing and developing emotional resilience.

Today I've asked the Davida to share some practical tips on how to prevent burnout as individuals and what we can do as leaders to prevent burnout in our own organizations. So Davida why don't just get started. Burnout. This is a term you hear bounce around a lot, but as a starting point, how do you define what is burnout?

Davida Ginter: Yes. And you're absolutely right about, this is a term that recently we hear all over the place. And so it's important to understand what it really means. And sometimes people are a bit stressed, overboard, but there are say, Oh, we're so burned out. Just not exactly right. Like people who are a bit sad who say, Oh, I'm so depressed, but this is of course, like clinical depression. And so it's important to understand. What is burnout, how it looks like, how it feels like the formal definition of burnout by the world health organization is basically a constant chronic stress related to the work that we're doing, which has not been successful managed, the stress. And I love this definition because it's not just random stress every now and then. It's chronic stress. It's ready to our project or mission doesn't have to be paid work. It could be any, endeavor that we are working on. Right. And it's also very helpful to understand the difference between stress and burnout. As those two are definitely not the same. And so we always say that stress by itself is actually not a negative thing.

Sometimes people fear of this state of stress. But there's nothing totally wrong with stress by itself. It could even push us forward towards pursuing our goal. However, when we perceive stress is harmful and we're not equipped to cope with it. When you don't manage that successfully in a healthy manner, when it's constant and chronic, that's when it could lead to burnout and that's the right place to intervene to take action before hitting the wall. 

Mike O'Neill: That's a very helpful clarification. I appreciate that. You know, I introduced you as being the founder and CEO of your own company, and, and named the companies Enkindle Global. And, I'm speaking to you from United States. You're speaking from Israel. Tell me a little bit about the name Enkindle. E N K I N D L E. 

Davida Ginter: Yeah, we had had a long discussion with the founding team. We founded this organization two years ago. When I was waiting for my book to be published, I wanted to do something practical with the knowledge around burnout. We gathered a team, we felt we got to hold the global events. And from here to there, it grew to be an organization, which we are very happy about working together on this mission. And so we sat together. And we felt what could be the name of this initiative. We don't want to go, we don't want to target the negative aspects. We want to work with people on burnout prevention, but that's not the name itself. And it's not what could be the antidote to that. And from there when to reignite passion, Which is our byline, but from there being decided about the word enkinder and some of our team members ask, well, that's not quite a familiar world. People will start, you know, wondering, looking, and you said, good. That will make them curious. This is exactly what we want to do. We want to bring up curiosity and raise awareness and ,you know, ask challenging questions, question the status quo. This is a big part of what we are doing. We're doing things differently. When to shake the system when it's needed, you know.

Mike O'Neill: You described the system, but yes, I'm thinking about what you're describing burnout. That is a, a term that is used worldwide. From your perspective, we're recording this in late April of 2021 and the last 12 plus months due to COVID. Are you an, are your clients experiencing higher degree of burnout? 

Davida Ginter: Yes. And there are reasons for that actually. It's really important that you're bringing this up because we now in the first quarter of 2021 have data around this. So during 2020, we could see, for example, on a global scale, of course, we could track more calls received in, hotlines of stress and anxiety and depression. We can track, quite a decrease in the mental health and situate, you know, emotional situation with people, but we could not put the finger on the specific causes and issues that can cause burnout. But now. A little over a year since COVID hit, we can actually look back and we are still in the middle of it, especially now, when we look at countries like India, for example, we can really see what's going on there. What happened in the past year? And so on top of the, I'd say regular common causes of burnout. We see in addition to that, more issues coming up in relates to burnout. For example, when people are working from home right remotely on one hand, it's nice. Right? We can be at home. We can wear our pajama pants, no one will notice, right? Like it's more comfortable. And at the same time, people are reporting about the dissolve of boundaries.

So work and personal life, all mixed together. And they're struggling to set those boundaries. I had someone telling me in a more kind of private conversation, but when we were talking about this issue, she said, my husband keeps working all the time because he's there at home. You know, with the phone he's working remotely and he's not present there at all because he's so committed to his work to degree and he can't stop working. And of course, we also see the situation facing uncertainty, something we, we have all experienced during 2020. Yet when people are not emotionally equipped to face the uncertainty to deal with the unknown that could lead to high stress, constant stress. As you said before, it could lead to burnout. Exactly and so on. And it's exactly why we say that emotional resilience should be built over time, right? You don't deal with the challenge the first time you tackle that when you're lacking the tools and capacities to deal with that. 

Mike O'Neill: Now you described the term emotional resilience that is something that can be built over time. Many people found themselves when COVID hit the hardest. Which would be been the spring of 2020. Is that, the two things that you mentioned came into play almost immediately, people were thrown into the unknown, which is very stressful. And because many people were working from home, those boundaries that used to be established all of a sudden got obliterated. And so timing wise, there's nothing. I can think of topic wise that we could talk about that wouldn't be more relevant, for, for our listeners right now. When we opened this podcast, I was differentiating how to prevent burnout as individuals and what might we as leaders be doing in our own organizations to look for those?

Why don't we kind of address each of those in turn the first one individually? What are the kinds of things that you suggest to us as individuals, the things that we need to be looking for and what we might need to be doing about those things? 

Davida Ginter: Yeah, absolutely. I started by saying that actually those two are interrelated and so we can't place all the responsibility for bear on prevention on individuals. And the same time we can't put it all on the system should be a holistic, consistent work. When we, for example, started working with individuals at the beginning of our professional journey, people came to us after the workshops and they told us why this is all great. And I can take many tools and I feel more equipped and empowered and so on. But tomorrow morning, I'm going back to the same system, the same organization that contributed to my burnout. And we thought this is true and really important. And that's when we start to address also the systemic level in our organizations. So if you start to focus first on the individuals, my instant reply is always, there is no one solution. Both in the sense that there isn't a single solution. There are many, but also there's no one size that fits all. Actually it could be even more harmful. When people are blindly follow others' advice if it's not suitable for them. So the first thing that we would do as individuals is self exploration, which it could be uncomfortable, which could take a bit of a time, especially for reflection, but is so much needed, you know, especially leaders, right? You mentioned leaders, for example, they look around and they might think me included. Well, everyone seemed to be meditating. That must be also true for me. I need to be a better leader by meditating, right? But no, we don't have to meditate if it's not comfortable for you. I have nothing against meditation that's not there. What I'm saying is that you need to find those practices that cater you in the best possible way. And in that area, there are quite a few practices and quite a few approaches, that we can cultivate as individuals. So I addressed them as more as areas then specific practices. Now, for example, connecting we're social creatures, we need support.

And we are also, our being is actually increased when we give support. So the more mutual this support system is the more likely we are. To feel heard and well and healthy  in that process. And when I say connecting, this is about being actively, actively connecting to people intentionally go out and, you know, find a place, a space to have a conversation, even about challenges, struggles, especially for leaders who tend to bottle up the fears and challenges and struggles. So actively seek for support and advice any that a need to have to be around the device. Sometimes all we need is to be heard by another person. Other than connecting, I definitely recommend anyone within that explore your personal practice, but I don't recommend exploring around the balance and not talking about work-life balance. I'm talking about a highly personal created balance, which is why do we need to meet our needs? How can we balance our routines in a way that will increase our wellbeing? For example, if I'm working in a very noisy environment all day long and might want to balance, it's some quiet time for myself or the other way around. Right. If I'm alone all day, I might want to socialize afterwards. So, and there are different types of balance, movement, and stillness, and, sounds versus quiet. So it's about having clarity about our needs and balance that routine again, many approaches, many practices for individuals. If we zoom out to the organizational level, there's a lot of work to be done there, especially around open the space for people to talk and share and have healthy dialogues. But also around what kind of support do we give people? How does our reward system works? Are we measuring people only by performance?  Or do you employ, do we employ other measurements? Do we encourage competition, which will often cause people to fight for their place, you know, for their survival, or do we encourage collaboration in the deepest, deepest meaning of the words?

And mainly this is about cultivating an environment that truly cares about the people and not just the workers. It's not just workforce. Those are individuals that come to their organization with their bag of problems, you know, with everything there. And to those who say that there is no room for any emotional conversation in the workplace. That's because they haven't found a creative way of doing that. And I can tell you it could work beautifully work. 

Mike O'Neill: Davida let me go back and see if I'm hearing some of the points that you want to make sure that we hear correctly. We started by talking about, individual burnout prevention versus what should we do as a leader. And you pointed out that those really are not exclusive roles that are intertwined. And you also pointed out that stress in of itself is not bad, but stress unchecked can be. And when we were talking about things that we could do, individually, or as leaders, you kind of caution, there is no one size fits all. And that what I noted here is that you're stressing that we need to be mindful of the power of connecting. And what I wrote down here is a support system. You need to have a support system in place. Whereas if you're in a leadership role, sometimes as a leader, you feel a little bit isolated and you may not feel that you can be as vulnerable. But you've encouraged us to not only have a sense of connection and support system, but also be mindful of this concept of balance. And this balance of, I was really intrigued behind you described balance, balance can be defined a lot of ways and I suspect what we're talking about is very well addressed in your book, but that balance, what would result imbalance for me may be different than you. But you're stressing the importance of balance, individually, but by extension, you're also saying that we have to be as leader step back and look at the organizations we lead. Is it possible that we are unintentionally fostering, undue stress? Are we potentially, resulting in burnout because of the nature of, we have our reward systems, for example, am I hearing that correct? And that you're trying to foster, you got to find that balance between, individual contribution and collaboration. That word keeps coming up. So am I hearing the kinds of points that you're raising and am I hearing those things correctly? 

Davida Ginter: Absolutely. And, I want to elaborate on two points, you just mentioned which are so, so important. First is that part about how do we measure and evaluates people or the workplace? And if you remember I said before this, we love question the status call and challenging the mindset, the prevalent mindset, and one of. My favorite questions is for people to redefine success. To challenge their definition of success. Because oftentimes we will realize that we're measuring the wrong things in a sense that we are not really care about those things, or we are not measuring enough. I was on site with a CEO and I asked her about, it was a burnout professional workshop. And in the break she came to me. So I'm having this conversation and she asked me a bunch of questions and I told her, I asked her a question and reply and ask her, how do you define your success and of yours, of, of your organization's success. And she started describing how well they're doing, how they're meeting those goals and that goals and the individual and the sustainability development goals and everything. And I told her, this is so wonderful produced to your work you're doing so well. I haven't heard a single word, your definition of success, about the wellbeing of the people and of your wellbeing. She was very quiet and I thought, did I say something wrong and ask her well said, you know what? I never thought about it this way. I never thought to include in my definition of success, my emotional wellbeing. And so that was the first point to redefine how measure success. And my second one, because you mentioned leaders and vulnerability, and everyone talks about vulnerability, which is so important in life. But also very challenging. But how about that? How about instead of looking at it as a struggle between being strong or weak, or one of the, what does it even mean? How much we realize our responsibility, our role as leaders also in the field of wellbeing, especially emotional wellbeing. There's a term I really like change to this, which is.

Emotional contagion, which means basically that's me, especially for, in a position of influence, our emotions can be contagious towards other people. And so imagine a leader walks in and they're suffering from within. They say nothing about it, but it protects toward the outside. That's not a role model of being tough and strong. Because everything really count. Everything will be contagious to the people in the environment. So it's really important to understand our role and responsibility as leaders in different settings. 

Mike O'Neill: You're introducing me to a new term, emotional contagion. Thank you. Do me a favor. Think about clients that you've worked with, would you be able to share maybe an example of a client that you worked with who found that they were stuck. And what is it that you've been working with them. How did you help them and how do they help themselves get unstuck? 

Davida Ginter: And then the question I have learned so much for my clients. So there was, for example, one organization I was working with, they brought me in for one reason, but, along the process, they encountered a huge problem. The workers in the factory itself, not the management workers, working with hot aluminum, they made a huge mistake that costs millions, that organization. And they were not only suffering around this, this issue. They felt guilt. They felt enormous guilt and shame around this mistake. And so the CEO and the HR wants to do something with that to see what's going on with employees. How can we resolve that? And they, they place really got stuck. And think about a group of 25 men and we brought him into the room to talk about their emotions. We sat there for four hours. I stopped counting the amount of cigarette and coffee breaks they had to take, but then they did a really good job there like really. And what we did is first of all, the anything highly creative way. We said like, no screens, nothing big papers and markers and color prints and everything, and facilitated questions to start exploring those emotions of guilt and everything, but the real work there about taking them, helping, helping them get unstuck was to encourage them to talk about the mistakes in a safe environment. And the highlight was the CEO. Listening to all the inputs and then standing up, back in the middle of the room with everyone, he sat them with tables, but at some point he stood at the CEO and said, I want to make sure that everyone knows here there's room to make mistakes. We are all humans. We are all allowed to make mistakes and we have your back. And that was. That was even exciting for me as a facilitator to hear, to wait to be with the same, such leadership, but also to see the people feel such relief from their stuckness of guilt and shame around the failure that they were part of basically. 

Mike O'Neill: That is a fantastic illustration and I've never really heard it described where they got stuck and the guilt from such a major mistake. If that had not been properly addressed, they could be doomed to a repeat of the exact same mistake. And it sounds like you, as a facilitator were able to help them come to terms. And it sounds pretty remarkable that the leader, would stand up in front of that group and just go on record we're humans, we're going to make mistakes. And we're going to learn from those and move on. That's a fantastic example. 

Davida Ginter: Yeah. Thank you. That was very moving that day. Yeah. 

Mike O'Neill: As you kind of reflect on our conversation, we've covered a number of things. If you were to offer some closing thoughts or some takeaways, what might those be? 

Davida Ginter: Well, we did cover a lot it is such wide topic isn't it? I'd say that's for me, one of the most important messages. And if I need to still remember a takeaway one thing, that way, is to pause the self judgment and cultivate more self empathy. As leaders specifically be, are being impacted to other people, which is really important. What about self empathy? What about giving this pace for ourselves to make mistakes, to be human, to be imperfect, to pause that self judgment and find our way, you know, sometimes the journey, just paid itself when we allow it, when we make room for it.

Mike O'Neill: Davida, you're a published author I introduced on the front end. The name of your book. Burning Out Won't Get You There. I love that title. And therefore in the show notes, we will include a link on how people could access that book. If a listener, after listening to this podcast wants to reach out to you. What's the best way for them to connect with you? 

Davida Ginter: I have my personal website, And of course our organization website Enkindle I'm also available on LinkedIn. It's my playground. I love this platform, so you can reach out at anytime and I'm happy to support. 

Mike O'Neill: It was on LinkedIn that you and I crossed paths. And so we will include information that is your personal website, your company website an also your LinkedIn profile in the show notes. This has been a great conversation. Thank you. Davida. Also want to thank our listeners for joining us for this episode of Get Unstuck & On Target. We upload the latest episode every Thursday. And if you haven't already please subscribe. But you know, life is too short to let business problems keep you up at night. Our coaches love helping leaders solve the tough problems that are holding you back from the success that you deserve. So you've been listening to my discussion with Davida. and your realizing that something's keeping you or your business stuck. Let's talk, go to our website, or just go to your browser and type to schedule a quick call. So I want to thank you for joining us, and I hope you've picked up on some tips that will help you Get Unstuck & On Target. Until next time. 

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