Three Ways to Prevent Leadership Burnout

When your leaders are driven and passionate about their work, it’s easy for them to be motivated and engulfed by responsibility. The Wall Street Journal reported on a study by the Harvard Medical School faculty, stating that, “96% of senior leaders reported feeling burnt out to some degree, with one-third describing their burnout as extreme.” Managing people is an unending source of stress for executives and arguably the most difficult administrative task.

The detachment and unhappiness that burnout causes can threaten your relationships, your health, and your career. But if you feel you’re on the brink or in the midst a burnout, there are things you can do to regain your balance and move past the feeling of lack of interest or motivation.


Act Early

The first step to preventing leadership burnout is admitting that it can, does and will happen. Everyone is at risk, from individual contributors to top executives in all industries. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of burnout can help you act early to help curb the detachment and unhappiness it can cause. You can learn more about the signs and symptoms of burnout here.

Reinforce Your Confidence

Taking a moment to assess your personal interests, skills and passions can help you focus on what you do well. Burnout can lead to lower confidence in performance and decision making skills, which can cause you to become cynical. If you find positive ways to bolster your confidence, you’ll be about to rediscover enjoyable aspects of your work and in turn, decrease your overall stress level.

Make Your Wellbeing a Priority

Being a leader is time-consuming, but taking care of yourself will help you push through and prevent burnout. This includes eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Begin with a small change, like taking a 20-minute break once a day to clear your head, and build from there. A little effort will improve your ability to manage stress and perform during the changes and challenges that are inevitable in the lives of leaders.

No industry is immune to the effects of leadership burnout; if you are in a demanding, high-stress position for a long enough period, you’re at risk. Burned out leaders can become slow and indecisive when faced with important decisions because they feel less confident in their choices and can cause poor decisions and missed opportunities. Take time to assess how you’re feeling in your leadership role, reframe how you look at the work you do, boost your confidence, and reevaluate your priorities. These steps can help you regain your balance and move past the feeling of burnout.