Becoming a great leader takes a lot of work. And that work can lead to stress. Deadlines, people to help, clients to satisfy, all of it can lead to hectic days and long nights.
But it’s important to find the line between “stressed out” and “burnt out.” The former is bound to happen every now and then, but the ladder is something more pervasive and much more harmful. In today’s day and age — with business, people, and culture moving a mile a minute – it’s important we take the time to learn how to overcome burnout and, more importantly, how to prevent it.
Stress or Burnout?
If you’re stressed out, a two-week vacation may be the thing you need. However, if you’re burnt out, the chances are you’ll fall into the same mundane rut when you return. If this is a trend you see consistently in your job, you may be experiencing burnout. And, as a leader of people, we need to do our best to thrive, not just survive.
For some people, burnout can take years to notice. But if you’re feeling unmotivated at work, and it’s following you into your life after work, you’re probably experiencing burnout. But the issue with this isn’t that it plagues your day to day, but burnout will eventually creep into the lives of the people around you, affecting their job performance, their attitude, and their desire to speak up and help create the best culture at work they can.
The truth is – as a leader – you have a lot to deal with. Try living by the “Do, Delegate, Drop” mentality. Figure out what you have to do today — make a list — and do your best to knock that off. From there, figure out what you can delegate. Are there tasks you can give to the people around you? Try thinking of that person on your team who wanted to take more responsibility lately, or even ask for help. Remember, a great leader is honest about their need for help.
Finally, what can you drop? That is, what can wait until a later date for you to accomplish. Far too often, people fall into the trap of thinking, “If I can just finish everything today, I won’t have to worry anymore!” But the truth is, that way of thinking often creates a checklist that is far too daunting for a day’s work, often instilling anxiety in a person and keeping them from actually getting anything done!
Burnout is a serious issue. If left unchecked, it can result in poor job performance (which in severe cases could result in a loss of a job), and more importantly, depression and dissatisfaction in your personal life.