Relationship Between Organizational Leadership and Health Care Employee Burnout and Satisfaction

Liselotte N. Dyrbye, Brittny Major-Elechi, J. Taylor Hays, Cathryn H. Fraser, Steven J. Buskirk, Colin P. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: To explore the relationship between immediate supervisor leadership behaviors and burnout and professional satisfaction of health care employees. Participants and Methods: From October 2 to 20, 2017, we surveyed nonphysician health care employees. The survey included 2 items from the Maslach Burnout Inventory and items on their immediate supervisor leadership behaviors. Logistic regression was performed to evaluate the relationship between the leadership score and the prevalence of burnout and satisfaction after adjusting for age, sex, duration of employment, and job category. Sensitivity analysis was performed using mixed models with a random intercept for work unit to assess the impact of the correlation within work units on burnout and satisfaction with the organization. Results: Of the 57,414 employees surveyed, 39,896 (69.5%) responded and answered the leadership questions. Supervisor scores in each dimension and composite leadership scores correlated with burnout and satisfaction of employees (P<.001 for all). In logistic regression, each 1-point increase in leadership score was associated with a 7% decrease in odds of burnout and an 11% increase in odds of satisfaction (P<.001 for both) of employees. The mean composite leadership score rating of each immediate supervisor correlated with rate of burnout (r=−0.247; P<.001) and the satisfaction with the organization (r=0.416; P<.001) at the work unit level. Conclusion: Leadership qualities of immediate supervisors relate to burnout and satisfaction of nonphysician health care employees working in a large organization. Further studies are needed to determine whether strategies to monitor and improve supervisor leadership scores result in reduction in burnout and improved satisfaction among health care employees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-708
Number of pages11
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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