As a Business Leader, Is Your Work Engaging or Consuming You?

by Mike O'Neill

Are you a business leader who constantly feels pulled in a lot of different directions? Do you often take your work home mentally and find it next to impossible to “turn off” and relax with friends and family?

67% of business leaders believe that the stress they experience at work is manageable. Many business leaders feel like they’re always letting someone down or dropping balls somewhere. They think that if they can just get organized and get into a routine, they’ll be more productive.

If this sounds like you, you’ve probably even purchased, tried, and discarded several different books, planners, or project management programs. You might have even tested out multiple planning or organizational strategies from industry gurus. 

If you’re a business leader trapped in this type of situation, it’s important for you to understand that you don’t have to do it alone. Leadership coaches and strategic planners have special skill sets and experience that can help you.

With the right support, you can stay on task, hone in on what’s most important, and achieve your goals. At Bench Builders, we founded our company to help business leaders overcome these everyday challenges.

We’ve worked with companies of all sizes, so we understand the difficult situations top leaders face as they strive to grow and improve. And, we know how to help guide your team using a combination of experience, skill, and proven tactics.

Keep reading for some warning signs that you’re experiencing leadership burnout and what you can do about it.

5 Warning Signs of Leadership Burnout

In 2019, the World Health Organization recognized burnout as a legitimate medical condition, and they defined it as “A syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

Leadership burnout is when a person in a leadership or management position is experiencing burnout symptoms, and it can have some serious adverse effects. 

When you’re in the grips of leadership burnout, you’ll experience:

  • Higher levels of anxiety and depression
  • A feeling of mental depletion or exhaustion 
  • Increased mental distance or negativism about your job
  • Decreased professional efficacy

As we dive into the five warning signs of leadership burnout below, contact us for help if you find yourself thinking, “Wow, this sounds like me!”

Our experienced consultants can help you overcome — and prevent — leadership burnout to get you on the path to success and fulfillment in no time.

1. Your Motivation Has Vanished

Do you feel like your mojo vanished, and you’re not sure where it’s gone or how to get it back? A loss of motivation to get out of bed and go to work is one of the trademark warning signs of leadership burnout.

When your motivation has vanished, you’ll find yourself thinking things like:

  • “I really have to get this important assignment done before the deadline, but I just don’t want to.”
  • “I know X needs some attention, but I just don’t have the mental calories for that right now.”
  • “Ugh, I’m supposed to meet Susie at 4:00, but she’ll understand if I reschedule. I’ll just tell her an emergency came up.”
  • Or something similar...

2. You Feel Emotionally Numb

Feelings of emotional numbness are a little different for everyone. Some people may feel like they’re living their life on autopilot, while others report experiencing a sense of emptiness or despondency. 

Healthline conducted interviews with patients who experienced emotional numbness. Here’s what a few of them had to say about their experience:

“Often, I feel invisible, like I’m a ghost. I watch my family engaging with each other, but feel like there’s an invisible barrier that keeps me from joining them. I’m like a submarine drifting undetected, picking up on other people’s emotions like sonar. However, if you were to ask me what my own feelings are, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.” - Andrew H.“The world around me often seems slightly superficial. I am simply going through the motions and can’t connect to my environment. It makes me feel as if there is analog TV static in my brain. I am unable to communicate or think deeply.” -  Rebecca C.

“It basically feels like when you zone out before you go to sleep. [It] feels like being unfocused. And sometimes, especially right when you are going through it, it’s really hard to understand how the world keeps moving when it should’ve stopped.” - Amanda D.

3. Social Interactions Drain You

Contrary to popular belief, even introverts experience rejuvenation in social interactions when it’s under the right circumstances. In the right environment, with the right people, talking about something that they’re passionate about energizes introverts just as much as it does extroverts.

So, no matter whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, you’ll experience exhaustion from social interactions of all kinds when you’re suffering from leadership burnout. Not only will you be mentally exhausted, but you’ll be physically exhausted as well.

If you begin to notice that interactions that used to invigorate you are now draining you, you might be experiencing leadership burnout.

4. You’re Irritated by the Small Things

Most of us have heard the saying, “don’t sweat the small stuff” at one point or another throughout our lives. This mantra becomes impossible to live out when you’re struggling with the negative effects of leadership burnout.

You’ll find yourself snapping and getting irritated at the smallest things that normally wouldn’t bother you, such as the sound of someone chewing or getting interrupted when doing focused work. 

You might even explode in anger over your family, neglecting household chores, like dishes and laundry, or not putting items back in their proper places, like leaving food out on your countertops overnight.

5. Your Productivity Levels Are Dropping

Have you suddenly found yourself getting less done in the same amount of time that you used to power through a pile of work before?

When in the middle of leadership burnout, your productivity levels will drop. You’ll feel like you work all the time but never seem to accomplish anything — despite all your efforts.

This drop in productivity is mostly because you spend more time trying to talk yourself into working and avoiding the sinkhole of distractions. The extra time spent trying to motivate yourself or procrastinating with distractions adds up to a whole lot of time wasted.

Don’t Suffer From Leadership Burnout — Get Help Now

Are you experiencing any of the warning signs listed above? Do you think you might in the grip of leadership burnout?

Then don’t allow the suffering to continue. Let’s talk about how you can recover from the negative effects and prevent a recurrence of leadership burnout in the future.

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