When we discuss burnout, we often focus on employees. However, leadership is just as susceptible to burnout. Burnout at the management and leadership level can be even more debilitating to the company, as leadership's culture and attitude often influences the rest of the company.
Being a leader takes a lot of hard work, as your plate is constantly full of deadlines, clients to respond to and keep happy, and employees to oversee. It's easy to give into the pressure and let the burnout overtake you.
Burnout in leadership also has consequences in other areas of the business. When you're burnt out, you may be more irritable and more likely to snap over something small. This may lead to even your best employees feeling unmotivated, under appreciated, and eventually leaving their job. Luckily, there are effective strategies to avoid burnout at the leadership level and take control of your own work environment:
Now that we have endless channels of communication - phone calls, Zoom meetings, Slack, texting, social media, etc. - it can feel quite impossible to feel fully disconnected or unplugged. However, if you never truly log out, you won't feel like you have really left work. Especially while working from home, the line between work and life has become more blurry than ever.
However, when you're the manager or boss, it's a little bit harder to stick to traditional working hours as you are likely to go-to person for emergencies. Regardless, try your best to take the evenings and weekends off, and communicate to your clients and employees that you won't be actively checking emails or phone calls during those times. If you absolutely need to still check emails, then try to designate a specific time to check, and don't check again when the time has passed. For example, you could check your email on Saturday from 12pm - 12:30pm, but not a minute after. This will help alleviate stress of work piling up while also respecting your personal life and boundaries.
2. Lean On Your Inner Circle
Burnout often includes withdrawing from other people and social interactions. Being stressed out can cause you to keep to yourself, or even isolate yourself from others. However, friends and family make a huge difference when it comes to stress and burnout, and even just being around their presence can improve your mood. While in person gatherings are not an option during COVID-19, set up 1:1 virtual coffee chats with other members of leadership, casual virtual coffee chats with old friends, maybe even a virtual game night with your family. Spending quality time with the people you love and getting to know new people can greatly decrease the stress of work.
3. Reward Yourself
It seems like productivity is everything these days. In a leadership position, it is often one of the biggest or only things your performance is measured by. We can get so focused on results, ROI, and outcomes that we forget there's more to life than just productivity.
Reward yourself with a cooking class, a good book, or even a day in the park. Find something that makes you completely forget about work, something that you truly enjoy. Not something that you could turn into a side hustle, or boost your resume. Reward yourself with something that is completely for yourself. If you make a habit of incorporating this activity into every week, it can significantly improve your mood and help you get through a stressful time at work.
4. Identify Your Favorite Part of Your Work - and Spend More Time in that Area
When you're experiencing burnout, every part of your job can seem unbearable. However, there must be something you enjoy about your job. It could be making a difference in your client's business, encouraging your employees to work on their own personal development, or even launching an exciting new product. Whatever it may be, identify your favorite part of your job and do everything in your power to increase the amount of time you spend working in that area.
If you really dislike every part of your job, think about your company's mission and values, and how you can launch a new initiative to uphold those values. It can be a great way to reconnect to your company and really make a difference.
Burnout can truly affect every aspect of the business. To learn more about how you can help your company overcome burnout, check out the resources below: