Leaders from all industries can relate to the constant pressures of an overloaded workload. With such a huge demand, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and succumb to burnout. Yet despite how common this feeling is, many leaders continue to wear it like a badge of honor – believing that if they’re working long hours (or feeling overwhelmed) then they must be doing something right. But to effectively and sustainably lead, knowing when and how we should take breaks is just as important—if not more important—than pushing yourself harder each day.
Lazarus and Folkman define stress as, “a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being.”Lazarus & Folkman (1984)
Lazarus and Folkman define stress as, “a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being.” What does it say about an organization’s culture when leaders are required to produce in a space that is cognitively appraised as taxing, exceeding resources and endangering their well-being? Perhaps it’s human will that allows us to produce in spite of working conditions. But should we really celebrate this?
First off, let’s establish what burnout really looks like: It’s the feeling that you are unable to keep up with your work, even if you are putting in extra hours; It’s being exhausted yet having difficulty sleeping; It’s feeling disengaged at work or doubting your ability to make an impact; And lastly, it’s having difficulty focusing on tasks that require substantial mental effort —such as making decisions or completing complex projects.
The Consequences of Wearing Burnout Like a Badge of Honor
When leaders start wearing their burnout like a badge of honor, they risk developing serious physical symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and chronic fatigue which can quickly lead to serious medical conditions including depression and anxiety disorders. Moreover, when enduring high levels of stress for extended periods of time leaders often experience emotional exhaustion which leads to feelings of detachment from colleagues and coworkers which further increases strain on team dynamics. Lastly, feeling burned out for too long can also cause cognitive decline leading to decreased productivity and lower quality work output. All these factors combined can have drastic implications for organizational efficiency overall.
Strategies to Prevent Burnout
So what can leaders do? To prevent burnout from occurring in the first place (as opposed to dealing with the consequences after they occur) prioritizing self-care needs to be top priority. Here are some strategies to prevent burnout:
Take regular breaks
This means taking regular breaks throughout the day—even if it’s only 10 minutes away from your desk—and ensuring that you get enough sleep each night so that you feel refreshed each morning.
Additionally, establishing boundaries between work life and home life is essential in order ensure that you don’t overwork yourself during “off hours.”
Take time off
Leaders should also be cognizant about taking time off when needed in order to recharge properly before returning back into their daily routines refreshed and full of energy again!
Set Realistic Goals
Finally setting realistic goals for oneself will help ensure that no task is too overwhelming or difficult resulting in feelings of accomplishment as goals are met without sacrificing too much energy or motivation towards completing them!
Before COVID, leaders accepted work environments that pushed them to their limits because they were constantly told that there was no other way to do the work.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a defining moment in history. Time will be divided into Before COVID (BC) and After COVID (AC). Before COVID, leaders accepted work environments that pushed them to their limits because they were constantly told that there was no other way to do the work. The COVID crisis destroyed every “No we can’t do that” and showed everyone what was possible when it comes to work. It also showed leaders how consumed by work they were. Coming in early and stay late doesn’t get the work done any faster or any better. The illusion of busy was terrible hat trick in the world of work.
For many leaders, keeping up this illusion cost them in ways their colleagues may never know. Let’s leave that mindset and practice in 2019. There’s no room for it AC. Wearing burnout like a badge of honor does more harm than good—both for individual employees as well as organization success overall . Taking steps towards preventing burnout should be part of any successful leadership strategy because it ensures both mental health wellbeing and sustained productivity over time. By implementing effective strategies such as regular breaks throughout the day , establishing appropriate boundaries between home life and work life , taking sufficient amounts rest , setting realistic goals , leaders will find themselves better prepared mentally handle any challenges may come their way!
The illusion of busy was terrible hat trick in the world of work.