People burn out if they don’t feel their importance. What to do with it?

    Kesha Skirnevsky , co-owner of Zebrainy ("Skazbuk"), spoke at a ProductSense conference about motivation from the point of view of the brain.

    I was in charge of the marketing department at the factory, I founded a trailer production studio and now I am leading the company Zebrainy, which develops children's educational projects . From my own experience I know that people often get tired and burn out at work. But I have long been studying the brain and figured out how to avoid it.

    As long as you do not know how the brain works, it seems to you that someone lives better and someone worse. You are worried: "My life is so tense, and that guy in the social network is positive and successful." But the brain is generally not designed to make people feel happy. On the contrary, each of us lives in a personal hell.

    The brain grows unevenly throughout life: after 25 years, its neuroplasticity decreases, and the feeling of joy in life decreases. If the brain processes incoming signals quickly, we feel good, and if it needs extra energy, we feel bad. When neuroplasticity decreases, the brain makes more effort, and we are less rejoiced at familiar things. Many in 30 years feel this crisis: even if a man sails on his yacht, his life is not in a rush. He is in a personal hell, just like you.

    I will not tell you how to deal with this hell, but I will help reduce the temperature of the griddle your colleagues are roasting.

    How burnout occurs

    I will explain with the example of my favorite song. If you have a favorite song, you like it for a while, and then it starts to piss off. Music and words are the signals your brain takes. Initially, he processes them quickly and easily, and then he will need additional energy. This burnout applies not only to work, but also to relationships between people.

    When a new signal arrives in the brain, such as facial features and timbre of the voice, the brain creates a response to process them. When you meet this person again, the brain processes the signals from it using the response that it created for the first time. Therefore, it will be easy for you to communicate with him. But if the signals enter the brain too often, the response is depleted.

    On a chemical level, it's easy to explain. Neurons, to conduct a signal, emit special substances - neurotransmitters. Every time the neuron is activated, the neurotransmitters are depleted. As a result, the brain, which has been formed response, will not be able to process the signal quickly and easily. Therefore, familiar people suddenly start to enrage you.

    Imagine that you heard the remix of your favorite song that you once tired of. You liked the remix because it is a combination of familiar music and new processing. Now your brain needs to build a new response.
    The key to successful relationships with people at work is familiar plus something new.

    You need a system in which each person grows and becomes a source of new experience for others. These can be courses within the company: workshops, personal development programs, increasing the complexity of tasks. Employees need to be trained not only to make them work better, but also to reduce stress in the team.


    A person has a long-term memory and a short-term memory. Thoughts are in short-term memory - in the area of ​​your attention. You can think about 4-7 objects at the same time: if I list the numbers, after the fifth one it will be difficult for you to remember them. Therefore, performing the same type of actions is easier than several different actions.
    To build a harmonious work environment, you need to provide employees with a work flow — one focused task.

    This may be writing documents, planning, selection of references. The day should be built on switching from one stream to another, but not on multitasking.


    Goals are short-term and long-term. At the beginning of the week, the employee must plan the work for each day, and then note the completed tasks. Then he will understand what short-term goals will reach at the end of the week.
    A long-term goal is why an employee goes to work at all.

    A person wants to understand how his being in the stream helps to achieve something more. Therefore, the company should talk about its mission and big goals. If there is no such goal, employees feel unnecessary.


    The employee should see progress in the short and long term goals. For example, Zebrainy has weekly reports: every person on Monday morning writes what he did last week. Only two or three sentences that provide a sense of progress.
    Setting goals, explaining progress is the work of a manager.

    It is important for subordinates to know that the company is moving in the right direction - towards a long-term goal. It depends on the manager: he must explain that the company reaches certain stages thanks to the employees.


    The employee should be able to feel like a star, if he does the work better than others.
    Therefore, work tasks should be divided into small blocks in which such an employee may appear. If he applies super efforts, it will motivate you and his colleagues.


    Another way to convey the value of work is the feeling of a shoulder.
    Pair people to achieve common goals.

    These may be people from non-related professions, such as a programmer with an artist or a sound engineer with a manager. It is good when the manager and the employee solve problems together. It helps people feel better.


    Any job of the same type depletes the response of the brain.
    Employees must switch to alternative tasks.

    For example, in Google one day people spend on achieving goals that are not directly related to work. This helps with new forces to return to their tasks.


    Now many people talk about gamification in work and perceive it as a whim. You can work "in the old fashioned way", but if you want to prevent people from burning out, think this way.
    The game is brain breaking, it practically forces the brain to have fun.

    Therefore, working like a game helps employees feel better and do more.


    Childhood is of great importance in our lives. The brain grows to 90% to 12 years - it is during this period that preferences and attitudes of the person are formed.
    If you do not know what happened to your colleague as a child, you will make erroneous assumptions about him.

    Ask about your colleague's childhood: with whom he was friends at school, how he talked with his parents, what games he loved. If he had a dysfunctional childhood, he perceives the intonation of the parent much better. By taking care of him, you will be able to convey information. If an employee had good family relationships, he was used to logical communication. In this case, he does not need care, but a rationale for your decisions.

    Do you know about your colleagues something that nobody knows? If you immediately said no, then you did not even try to find out. If you thought for a second and remembered something, then everything is fine.


    For the brain, the simplest signals to process are man’s thoughts about himself. Therefore, we often overestimate our ideas and underestimate others.
    The opinions and actions of other people are perceived as bad, because the brain spends additional energy on them.

    To solve a problem, it is necessary to “load” the experience of his colleagues in the head of each employee.

    Every 2-3 weeks, we hold internal workshops. One of the employees shows how he performs his work: for example, the artist draws and comments on his actions for 1.5 hours. The team begins to admire his work, and someone even offers solutions. For example, a programmer might say: “If you do something different here, it will be easier for us to integrate it into a project”. This practice helps to achieve mutual respect in the team.


    As I have already said, a person works more effectively when he solves problems himself or in pairs. Meetings are so popular because it is a simpler cognitive load than solving personal problems - nothing depends on employees, they feel relaxed and useless. Therefore, instead of ordinary meetings, we use TRIZ - the theory of solving inventive problems of Heinrich Altshuller.

    Thanks to this theory, we quickly move to the zone of effective solutions. It helps fight slipping when employees are lazy and do not think at meetings.
    Learn to track the moment when a person becomes depressed, and try to get him out of this state.


    Ask yourself if you believe in freedom of choice. Suppose you need to select object A or object B. If you selected object A, is there a reason why you chose it? If there is a reason, then there is no choice. Breaking the causal link is impossible, your every action is predetermined.

    You have an inner pressure that encourages you to do something, and an outer pressure that corrects actions. For example, the inner pressure may be experience from childhood, and external - some social factors or people who influence you.
    One of the most important pressures is social capital, the need to look to other people more actively, more successfully, more effectively.

    We want to get the maximum respect and recognition at home and at work. Therefore, if you drink with your boss at a corporate party, his pressure on you drops. You are not so important to earn his respect.

    Remember: a person acts under pressure from the environment. When you are trying to get results from an employee, you must provide him with pressure. This may be personal pressure, accountability, planning, social capital. Cancel corporate parties if you want your employees to have the motivation to work better and more efficiently.


    Managers have a problem: they often think they can judge people. But remember that we all live in a personal hell with our own problems and stress.
    Scolding an employee and telling him that he is bad is a quick way to sink a person.

    You can motivate employees using the techniques that I described. Praise the employee, even if you are going to dismiss him. A person works well if the fire to achieve the goal burns in him - do not extinguish this fire by cursing. Motivation in a company can be built without finding out who is good and who is bad.


    So that people do not burn out and work with pleasure, you must follow a few rules.

    1. Provide workflow with same type of tasks.
    2. Set short-term and long-term goals.
    3. Show progress.
    4. Highlight the leaders.
    5. Pair up to solve problems.
    6. Help switch to alternative tasks.
    7. Make the work look like a game.
    8. Learn more about your colleagues.
    9. Help to learn from experience.
    10. Use TRIZ in meetings.
    11. Provide pressure.
    12. Praise.

    Watch the video of the Kesha Skirnevsky report and the session of answers to questions.

    More video from the conference and useful materials on product management on our channel @productsense .

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