Burnout is a growing concern within companies: burnouts are responsible for a high percentage of lack of happiness and efficiency at the workplace as well as absenteeism.
Crises generate instability and doubt, which generates a feeling of uncertainty in teams, causing fatigue, ineffectiveness and, ultimately, exhaustion. The leader has an important asset against this professional burnout: it is precisely his leadership.
Find out in this article how to become more resilient and avoid burnout using your leadership skills.
Leadership, a source of resilience
Burnout is often the result of an inability to deal with chronic stress, linked to overwork or lack of experience. The latter then generates frustration and negative emotions, which can go as far as aggression. In the workplace, this type of behavior is quickly difficult to manage, and several signs can alert. These include decreased productivity and energy, fatigue, mood swings, which, in the long term, can have serious consequences on work.
There are leadership strategies to address this and prevent this kind of situation.
In the event of declining productivity and energy, it is sufficient to step back and recharge the batteries. Sometimes this involves a complete “reset” of your body and your mind: a getaway in nature, an afternoon of meditation… For fatigue or mood changes, time and an effective return to a healthy lifestyle may also suffice.
Also, managing emotions is an important part over which the leader often has a hand: it is both their strength and their source of resilience. However, there are some situations where burnout is too great for the leader’s resilience to take effect. In this case, the leader is armed to build himself in the face of exhaustion, once he has identified it.
Building leadership in the face of burnout
Leaders often have personalities and human qualities that make them more resistant to burnout than other people. They are able to understand and identify the sources of burnout in order to anticipate them and prevent their negative effects. In particular, this involves different types of strategies, which are constructed as identification occurs. These can be prevention strategies: leaders establish effective routines in their lives to always be in line with their goals, without ever going out of line.
To do this, leaders set reasonable expectations but continue to dream big, encourage physical activity to relieve bad stress and work in full gratitude with their employees. They are levers and reflexes to limit professional burnout. It can also be a strategy of limitation: it is about supervising the super-performers, starting with yourself, in their daily professional action. It consists in developing the “no attitude”, or the fact of knowing how to refuse requests: it is a force that will undoubtedly get you out of a situation not far from professional burnout.
All of these leadership strategies aim to limit, supervise or combat burnout. But the leader must also take into account his teams and his entourage for this problem.
The importance of relationships for the leader
Burnout is also a consequence of toxic or difficult relationships, especially at work. Indeed, the feeling of not being up to it, of not delivering, of not ensuring, are additional sources of pressure that an outside entourage sometimes allows itself to exert. Thus, the leader’s relationships are both his asset and his weakness in the face of burnout, which is why he must shape his relationships. It is important to know how to develop a sense of relationships: the priority for teams is to know that their physical safety is guaranteed, but not necessarily mental. No one thinks about their mental safety when a physical threat (possibly related to loss of employment or income) arises. The role of the leader is to take care of these people, as well as of himself: it is necessary to adapt to the needs of each one and to reassure them. It is a real question of corporate culture, which invites the leader to exercise empathetic leadership in order to avoid burnout for him and his teams.
The leader is safe from burnout if he focuses on people, not products or results: this is called the empathetic leadership.
Develop your empathetic leadership: our advice
Your leadership is key to fighting against your burnout, but also that of your teams. Developing a set of key values to move forward as a team, such as gratitude, recognition or a sense of service, is essential. For your part, you have to develop skills like listening skills (including listening to yourself and your needs), as well as being authentic. Accepting that you are fallible and not a burnout-insensitive superhero is important to being aware of things so that you can better prevent, listen and heal burnout. Concretely, this involves actions like setting limits, being understanding of your team’s problems, and adjusting common goals when necessary.
You are in control of the ship: you have the flexibility to change the way you do your work or your lifestyle, to reduce the possibility of burnout, in the short, medium or long term. If this is the case, you could develop a recovery strategy to effectively combat burnout.
Your leadership is therefore your best asset to fight against this professional scourge: lead by example to inspire your teams!
About the author, Manon Marchand-Aylsworth: Manon is a professional life, wellness and nutrition coach and a NY State licensed wilderness guide. She is the Founder and CEO of Bonjour Delight LLC, the founder of Escape Hiking and The Warrior Program. She believes that wilderness and physical challenges are the best tools to deeply empower individuals and change someone’s mindset and life.