You or one of your key leaders may be at a crossroads. Just a choice or two will determine where you end up.
Burnout is one destination.
You get there by way of people, attitudes, actions and reactions that wear you down and make you realize control of your own situation is fast slipping away. You allow others to get there by not caring, not paying attention or not knowing what to do and just pretending you don’t see it.
Reading the signposts that can lead to burnout may be crucial in determining what you do next.
As a leader, you pay attention to charts, trends, statements or response. All this data gives you valuable information that you act on with resolve.
Similarly, there are four signs that may point to a deteriorating personal situation. Alone, these four things may not indicate a whole lot, but if they begin to accumulate it’s cause for concern. Stress can become overload, and overload can become burnout.
Seriously, the well-being and continued contribution of you or one of your people may be at stake.
If you begin observing these changes in behaviour, performance and conversation, start asking questions. If it becomes consuming by it’s presence, drop everything and pay attention to it.
1 A Loss of Energy – We may sense a loss of physical, emotional or spiritual energy. We just don’t have the get up and go that normally characterizes us. We are physically, emotionally or spiritually tired. And the sense of physical tiredness goes beyond just having a hard day’s work. It’s something more pervasive. One day off or even a holiday doesn’t bring that sense of re-invigoration.
2 A Loss of Involvement – We start to withdraw from things we would normally be involved in. Signs of job burnout may include withdrawing from people or from certain work situations to be alone. We almost express an indifference to projects, programs and causes that normally would engage our interests and passions. We may even find ourselves becoming cynical, irritated or seeing people as interruptions when it’s not the case at all. We’re going through the motions of leadership.
3 A Loss of Effectiveness – Our ability to perform as effectively as we once did is compromised. Our performance suffers. The quality of our work goes down. We’re not a sharp as we normally are. Our decision-making isn’t as crisp and decisive. Our communications are unclear and quality leadership is lacking. Others around us may be increasingly frustrated by our behaviors. Our burnout symptoms are beginning to affect them. It’s not that you lack these skills but that you seem unable to summon them when you need them.
4 A Loss of Health and a Sense of Well-being – Stress weakens the immune system and your ability to fight off disease or minor health problems. You may have a sense of not feeling as well as you normally do. That general feeling of malaise hangs on. You may experience any number of things happening to your body which don’t seem to tie together and don’t seem to have an explanation. Remember the effects of adrenaline: poor sleeping, aches and pains, stomach problems, unable to relax and a host of others. You just don’t feel as well as you know you should be feeling.
Signs of burnout show up in different ways for different people. Ask questions. Suggest the individual talk to a doctor. Ask how you can help.
Bottom line. Stop for a moment. Read the signposts that can lead to burnout. Turn your vehicle around and head for a better destination.
We Invite You to Contact Us
Over a number of years we have coached many leaders and executives experiencing overload and burnout. If you are experiencing these signs of burnout, an initial conversation will determine if and how we might assist you or point you to additional help.
Call my office at 705.687.2711 or email me here.