4 Telltale Signs of Leadership Burnout and How to Deal With Them


What are the first things you think about when you hear the words, “leadership burnout”? Chances are, it’s something along the lines of emotional drainage or physical exhaustion.


Well, here’s one facet of leadership burnout that may not come to mind right away: lack of accountability. When you’re the person in charge, nobody will tell you that you’re burned out. If you want to stay on top of your game, that’s something you’ll have to monitor yourself. Here are four common signs of leadership burnout and what to do about them.


  1. Low Energy Levels


Many leaders eventually get to a place where they feel their job doesn’t satisfy them anymore. That usually results in tiredness, exhaustion, and a general lack of enthusiasm. Oftentimes, it’s those exact warning signs that can make you put off self-care. Believing that you “don’t have the time or energy” to care for yourself may make you seem selfless or heroic.


Of course, the truth is that taking care of yourself will help the others around you since it allows you to perform at your best. If you feel that burnout starts affecting your well-being, make an appointment with a mental health professional. They’ll be able to provide coping mechanisms and recommend the best treatment options.


  1. Shrinking Inner Circle


In general, leaders shouldn’t be talking with the same group of people week-in and week-out. A good leader will engage in a wide array of discussions to seek new information. They should continuously network across industries and interest groups. If you’re lacking the enthusiasm to champion your ideas, there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with burnout.


The solution: start inviting other people into your inner circle and listen to their advice to get a fresh perspective on things. Also, don’t skip social events and conferences simply because they don’t excite you as they used to.


  1. Mood Changes


All leaders know that they should keep their emotions in check and act professionally at all times. When you’re burned out, though, you’ll start to feel your negative emotions leaking into your work and relationships much more frequently. By the time you start losing your cool over small things, you’ll know that something is wrong.


One time-proven way to combat mood changes is to get more sleep and exercise. Exercising, in particular, releases a protein called BDNF, which encourages neuronal growth and protects your brain cells from stress.


  1. Lack of Focus


Do you find yourself returning to the big picture instead of discussing operations at a tactical level? If so, this is another sign of burnout and exhaustion. Your vision and aspirations are the keys to business growth, but focusing solely on them can cause paralysis. You’d be a climber at the base of a mountain who keeps looking at the peak.


Instead of wasting time dreaming and forecasting, focus on getting things done. Take it upon yourself to get a set amount of small tasks done each day. Setting clear communication guidelines can also be a good way to narrow your focus.