If you are in a leadership position and feeling burned out, you are not alone. It seems that weekly I am hearing from leaders who are telling me that they are feeling fatigued, exhausted or burned out.
I am not surprised. In fact, as we start to prepare for the seemingly endless next waves of COVID, finding a leader who is not tired of the uncertainty is like finding a unicorn in a herd of horses at a rodeo.
As leaders navigated through the past couple of years, the expectations for them to “get it right” has been incredible. The mental and physical fatigue has been building and as we start to work on our preparations for 2022, many are finding it difficult to dig deeper and show enthusiasm for what could be challenging times.
Leadership burnout is typically caused by the following factors:
- Excess Stress over long periods of time
- Uncertainty about expectations
- Continuous change
- Dysfunctional dynamics at work
- Unrealistic workloads
- Lack of control
A few years ago, I wrote an article on business trauma stress disorder (BTSD). I wrote that the symptoms of business trauma were similar to PTSD suffered by those who have experience physical or mental trauma. That article garnered international interest and as a result I started to collect responses to a survey to determine if the symptoms were indeed similar. If you have time, I would love to have your input by filling out the survey.
Considering what leaders have gone through with lockdowns and shutdowns, cashflow challenges, lack of inventory, layoffs and hirings, lack of employees who seem willing to work, remote work, and policy changes, it’s no wonder that people are feeling some of the signs of burnout which can include:
- Lack of motivation and performance
- Physical or mental exhaustion
- Irritability and impatience with employees or co-workers and family
- Insomnia and sleeping challenges
- The use of sugary food, caffeine, drugs or alcohol for mental stimulation
In order to reduce stress in the workplace and leadership burnout, not only are companies going to need to have a plan, but government will also need to figure out how to reduce their contribution to the stress of leaders in this country. The new national culture of fear and panic that is being perpetuated by some politicians, media and health authorities, in order to drive social agendas at the expense of business, needs to be reigned in before the damage of the wave of leadership burnout is greater than any wave of illness similar to flu-like symptoms.
Unfortunately, many companies and business leaders have no plan for overcoming burnout. Organizations who are dismissing the true effect of the pandemic on the burnout of their leadership team could have a rude awakening when leaders start to quit or seek less stressful careers. Dealing with leadership burnout starts with leaders looking out for themselves and for others in their team around them.
Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award-winning Prince George-based business coach and the author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy. Questions about how to overcome the underlying reasons for your burnout? Email firstname.lastname@example.org