How leaders can reduce burnout

1 December 2023

In recent years, business leaders have had to adapt to rapid and frequent changes in their work environment. From demands for remote working following the pandemic to the rise and challenge of AI, there has never been a time when business leaders have had to deal with so many market challenges all at once. It is, therefore, not surprising to find that burnout has become an all-too-common phenomenon, affecting leaders and individuals at all levels of an organisation.

Leaders should not see themselves as standing apart from the rest of the organisation. They are part of the team and as such they need to recognise the signs of burnout throughout the organisation and take steps to mitigate burnout across their team, which crucially includes them. If, as a leader, you are experiencing burnout then the first thing you need to consider is how well your organisation is structured to support you and your team.

Do you have a positive and sustainable work culture? Here are some strategies leaders can employ to reduce burnout for themselves and their team members:

Promote Work-Life Balance

Remote and flexible working arrangements are not just a post-pandemic legacy but an essential way that you and your team can manage time and energy levels whilst maintaining productivity. As a leader, you need time to think about the long-term strategy of your business so taking time away from the office for reflection is not only good for your mental health but good for your business too. Encouraging a healthy work-life balance is essential in preventing burnout.

Effective Communication

Open and transparent communication between you and your team is key to preventing misunderstandings and managing expectations. It also allows for improved collaboration and teamwork which not only shares the burden of work across the team but also helps generate new ideas and creativity. By creating and maintaining clear lines of communication within the organisation, you will foster a sense of trust and support within your team which will reduce the pressure on you as a leader.

Set Realistic Expectations

Leaders should be mindful of setting achievable goals and deadlines for themselves and their team. Unrealistic expectations can lead to stress and burnout. By collaboratively setting goals that are challenging yet attainable, leaders empower their team members to succeed without sacrificing their well-being and theirs.

Recognise and Appreciate

When you are knee-deep in running a business, it is sometimes difficult to see what you are achieving. Setting KPIs and success metrics is not just for measuring growth but should be used to acknowledge the successes and achievements of the organisation. Formally acknowledging and appreciating your achievements and the hard work of team members goes a long way in preventing burnout. Regularly recognising achievements, both big and small, creates a positive work environment and reinforces a sense of purpose and value.

Lead by Example

Remember that as well as being a leader you are also part of a team so what you do and how you behave will have an impact on the rest of the team. Leaders are role models for their teams so by prioritising their well-being, setting boundaries, and demonstrating a healthy work-life balance, leaders show their team members that it’s not only acceptable but also essential to prioritise self-care. So, taking care of your well-being is not only good for you as a leader but also for your team and, of course, your business.

In conclusion, reducing burnout requires a proactive and holistic approach from leaders as well as self-reflection. By fostering a supportive culture, promoting work-life balance, and prioritising the well-being of their team members, leaders can create an environment that not only prevents their burnout but that of their team as well which will also enhance productivity and overall job satisfaction. In doing so, leaders contribute to the long-term success and resilience of both their team and the organisation as a whole.

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