Burnout among Leaders

Pressure – overwhelming pressure – happens to most people at different times in their life. It might be on the job or off the job, but it’s an unfortunate reality. Whether at work, in a public office, or in a not-for-profit ministry, leadership can bring intense responsibilities and demands – on our time, as well as our mental, physical, and emotional health. When it reaches the point where pressure becomes burnout, it can   significantly and negatively hinder a leader’s confidence, interactions, motivation, and general performance.

Recognizing that you’re headed for burnout and the typical accompanying depression is crucial to stopping the progression before it’s too late. Watch for these signs – and be honest with yourself in the watching.

  • Do you have a “survive” rather than “thrive” mentality?
  • Do you find yourself blaming employees or other team members for lack of knowledge when the root of the issue is your failure to communicate?
  • Do you find yourself trying to “do it yourself” rather than train someone else so you can delegate?
  • Do you “tell” your team what to do instead of asking them for input – and listening to their response.
  • Are you too tired to see the vision; only have enough energy for the day – or even the next hour?
  • Are you failing to respond to emails, phone messages, and other vital communications? Are you missing deadlines – and then blaming different situations or people?
  • Do you “fake” your way through each day – putting on a front of coolheaded optimism, when you really just want to scream at everyone and crash?
  • Are you struggling in your family/friend relationships – taking out your frustration on them – holding yourself together at work, and then letting go with those who matter to you the most?
  • Are you skipping activities you used to enjoy?
  • Is your self-care going down – sleeping too much or too little, grabbing snacks rather than meals, skipping your exercise routines?

If honesty means answering yes to several or more of these questions, it’s time to take stock and make changes. According to an article on Inc., there are three golden rules to preventing burnout.  This is a summary – for the complete article, click here.

 Protect self-identity

Self-identity, self-worth and social status operate at the heart of emotional exhaustion and burnout.

  • Clarify who does what.
  • Be fair.
  • Reward effort.
  • Spot goals.
  • Be there.

Maximize control

Uncertainty causes stress. Not feeling in control is one of the main contributors to burnout.

  • Define the problem.
  • Share decisions with transparency.
  • Listen
  • Reduce suspense.

Minimize exhaustion

Exhaustion — whether cognitive, emotional or physical — is a strong predictor of burnout.

  • Ask “what happened?” and never “why did it happen?”
  • Be authentic.
  • Demand sprints, not marathons.
  • Put in circuit breakers.
  • Check on sleep.

Sometimes, the best way to prevent burnout is to hire additional staff. As Maine’s leading staffing firm, Springborn Staffing is your key to finding the right staff for your needs. When it comes right down to it, you need a partner who can handle these details so you can focus on driving revenue and growing your business – without burnout. As a locally owned and independent staffing firm, we work hand-in-hand with your team to develop solutions that work for your business. Contact us today.


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