The reality is that leadership burnout is a pressing problem today. Leadership can be lonely and overwhelming. You have a lot of responsibilities to deal with, not to mention a workforce that looks to you for guidance and inspiration. Not surprisingly, a major survey found that nearly 60% of executives said they felt âworn outâ at the end of the workday. The constant pressure can lead to burnout, bad decisions, and missed business opportunities. Not to mention the ripple effect it can have on employees, leading to lower morale and lower levels of engagement.
It has been shown that you can only truly access your core strengths as a leader when you are feeling energized. So how can you, as a leader, conserve your energy and enthusiasm? How can you maintain your own commitment to your role despite the tremendous pressures placed on you? How to become a more resilient leader?
We spoke to Brian Marien, Co-Founder and President of Positive Group, who revealed his top tips on how to maintain your energy and enthusiasm as a leader.
Familiarize yourself with the purpose of your business
First, you need to familiarize yourself with the mission of your business – its purpose, values, and ultimate goals. Why does your business exist? What is your role within it? Familiarizing yourself with the long-term ambitions and overall purpose of your business will help ignite your energy and maintain your enthusiasm and passion for your role. Everyone wants to feel a part of something bigger than themselves, and you should feel motivated by the goal of running your business. You should feel the excitement, the feeling that what you are doing matters. If you don’t get anything at all, you might be part of the wrong organization.
Create a culture of enthusiasm
Enthusiasm can be contagious – and the process is cyclical. If you are excited about your company’s mission, that passion will spread to your employees. And being surrounded by engaged and motivated employees every day will help you maintain your enthusiasm for your role as a leader.
Keep your employees up to date on company successes and milestones – celebrate wins big and small, and this culture of enthusiasm will keep you going all day.
Stand face to face with your team
It can be difficult to stay motivated and energized at work when you feel disconnected. It’s your role as a leader to get to know your team. This is important from a performance management perspective, but it can also help you maintain your enthusiasm for your own work. Regular checks with your employees will keep you updated on their progress and also allow you to inform them of relevant company updates, thus creating a tight-knit and powerful team. There is also a very real link between communication and stress: the more you communicate with your employees, and the more they know, the less stressed they will feel and the more they will be empowered.
Build a tolerance for uncertainty
One thing that can undermine your confidence in your leader, or perhaps drain your energy, is the nature of the change. It happens a lot: you finally feel like you’ve got a grip on something, then some process changes, or an employee gives notice, or something else happens that requires immediate action. It can be exhausting, especially if you’re the type of person who isn’t comfortable with change. Maybe you are used to being in total control, and unpredictability affects your well-being.
It’s understandable, but change is almost constant in the world of leadership – and indeed, change is good. It makes our businesses stronger, and it also makes us stronger. We become more adaptable and more able to handle whatever is thrown at us. However, that doesn’t mean that adaptability and appreciation for change comes naturally to all of us – which is why so many leaders find resilience training so useful. Such training can give us the basic psychological skills to manage change and seize opportunities.
Learn to delegate responsibility and share responsibility
Perhaps you are mentally and physically exhausted as a leader because you are just trying to do everything – and this is neither realistic nor recommended. You are only human and there is not much you can do. Any good leader knows that it is wise – and necessary – to delegate responsibility. You can only focus on certain things, and by delegating you are helping your employees gain valuable skills while relieving you of the burden. Plus, you share the responsibility, which will show your team that you trust them. Remember, your employees want more responsibility. So, by delegating, you make everyone happy and more resilient.
Accept that perfection is not possible
Perfectionism can be a real problem when it comes to leadership. While it’s admirable that you want everything you do to be as perfect as possible, perfectionism has been shown to lead to high levels of burnout, intense self-criticism, anxiety, and depression. To be successful in the long term as a leader, you will need to learn to compromise and accept that perfectionism is not realistic or even possible.
Set healthy boundaries
When was the last time you were away from the office? Or ignore your professional emails after 6 p.m.? The dedication is great, but you can go too far. Great leaders know that setting limits is psychologically important – you can’t be available 24/7, and if you try you will end up in pain. Remember that you have a life outside of work and for your own sanity it should be a priority just like your job.
Practice gratitude and give your opinion
Those who are grateful and find things they are grateful for have been shown to be healthier than those who are not. In fact, as humans we have a natural and evolutionary bias of negativity. This means that we need to be proactive in practicing positivity and gratitude in order to shift the scale to a more balanced and positive position.
So, to maintain your passion and enthusiasm at work, it is worth looking for opportunities for gratitude. Plus, if you’re especially grateful to those you work with, be sure to let them know. A few words of praise or positive comments can go a long way for employees – it’s been linked to improved engagement, a stronger organizational culture, and increased performance.
Get enough sleep
Finally, don’t forget your basic needs. Working at any time of the day can be very expensive. Make sure you have a healthy sleep schedule and routine, and aim for at least seven hours a night – this will give your brain a chance to recharge. When we sleep, our brains have been shown to eliminate toxic waste byproducts, allowing normal function. There have been many studies on the neuroprotective aspects of sleep, but suffice it to say that when you get the sleep your brain needs, you are much better able to perform and excel at work.