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Top Signs & Symptoms of Leadership Burnout

It’s no secret that running a company is stressful, and the healthcare environment is especially demanding because of the nature of the work. In fact, healthcare leaders experience so many stressors and decision points throughout the day that the quality of choices being made can easily deteriorate. When leaders are stressed out, they can be anxious and sleep deprived which can lead to health problems, deteriorating relationships and weakened job performance.

Like generalized stress, burnout cuts across executive and managerial levels alike. Burnout is the feeling of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion that is caused by prolonged stress. While burnout manifests itself in different ways and to varying degrees in people, it does have some identifiable characteristics. The signs are subtle at first, but they get worse as time goes on if it remains unaddressed. If ignored, these symptoms can cause issues.

Physical Signs & Symptoms of Burnout
  • You feel tired or drained most of the time
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Lowered immunity, or getting sick often
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits
Emotional Signs & Symptoms of Burnout
  • Loss of motivation
  • Sense of self-doubt and failure
  • Feeling helpless, defeated, and trapped
  • An increasingly cynical outlook
  • Decreased sense of satisfaction or accomplishment
  • Feeling detached from the world
Behavioral Signs & Symptoms of Burnout
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Taking out your frustration on others
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Procrastinating, or taking longer to accomplish tasks
  • Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early

Do any of these signs and symptoms sound familiar? Whether you recognize the warning signs or you’re already at the burnout stage, it’s important to note that trying to push through and continuing will only cause further drain. As leaders, the first step is recognizing that burnout can, does, and will happen. It is a sign that something important in your life is not working. Take time to reflect on your job, goals, and dreams. Is there something you’re neglecting that is truly important to you? Once recognized, burnout can be an opportunity to slow down and give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal. Here are three ways you can help prevent leadership burnout.