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  • Ange MacCabe

Leadership Burnout: Common Symptoms and How to Turn it Around

This is a re-post from our friends at Intuity Performance. Scott and Ange make a living at helping leaders lead. Everything from managing teams to teaching us how to be better. You can find them at

As we head into August, it's a good time to be reflecting on how you're doing, and if you're ready for the fall and the sprint towards the end of the year.

What is burnout?

We’ve all been there, feeling mentally or physically exhausted, but what is burnout really? Most of the time, burnout comes from taking on too much at once, like an overwhelming workload. But it can also come from neglecting your self-care (i.e. how much sleep did you get last night?) and being isolated from friends, family and colleagues (remember early pandemic days). Burnout can be tough whether you're a leader, manager or individual contributor.

If you’re starting to feel run down in life and at work, it's time for some self-reflection. Slowing down and thinking about what’s bogging you down is the first step toward feeling better. If you aren’t sure if you are experiencing burnout, here are some common symptoms that arise:

Symptoms of Burnout

  • Detachment from colleagues, company engagement opportunities, friends and family

  • Not communicating feelings of failure and self-doubt

  • Loss of motivation leads to increased procrastination and absenteeism.

  • Exhibiting anger or lack of patience towards employees, friends, or family.

  • Showing signs of reduced efficiency.

Life is busy, and it can be so easy to get wrapped up in our daily responsibilities, but I'm sure we have all heard the saying, "You can't pour from an empty cup' - this statement couldn't be more accurate. If you're feeling burnt out, it can be hard to take action because it can feel like ANOTHER thing to think about on top of your already huge pile, but it's better to face burnout head-on to find your way back to your best self.

Here are some things to consider when trying to overcome burnout:

How to Overcome Burnout

Practice self-awareness - becoming aware of your thoughts, feelings, and environment and understanding how you react to things can help you step back and allow for space to make more precise, better-informed decisions.

Find your purpose - leaning into what lights you up can lend to your well-being; when we feel like what we do matters, it helps us focus and fulfill objectives.

Practice well-being - most people focus a lot on their careers, but the truth is there is a lot that goes into ensuring we as people are functioning in our optimal state. It’s essential to take the time to get movement into your day, eat nutritious food and get optimal sleep. We can’t expect to show up as our best selves at work if we aren’t taking care of ourselves in the other areas of our lives.

Learn to Prioritize - there isn’t a person on earth who knows and can do everything, so practicing resilience is essential.

  • Break large tasks down into smaller, more manageable parts and assess if items can be delegated

  • Learn to prioritize tasks in order of importance or impact

  • Aim for consistent, not perfect

  • Focus on personal development, and learn new skills that foster growth and improve work-flow.

As individuals, we all experience natural ups and downs in our energy levels. However, incorporating conscious choices into your daily routine can significantly impact your motivation, engagement, creativity, and productivity. By proactively managing your physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual well-being, you can create a healthy balance that allows you to perform at your best.

By exhibiting a healthy work-life balance as a leader, you can foster a workplace culture prioritizing mental health and well-being, leading to increased engagement, better productivity, and higher job satisfaction

Take a step back and prioritize your well-being so that you can lead your team to do the same.


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