Avoiding Burnout as a Business Leader

While great leadership comes at a price, it doesn’t have to cost you your sanity. No doubt, there’s a boatload that goes into successful leadership — it’s far more involved than just having a few good ideas.

It takes perseverance, delegation, late nights, early mornings, and let’s not forget, the willingness to ask for help. Even if you’re the CEO or business owner, you need to prioritise your own mental well-being in order to be the best business leader you can be.

This guide on avoiding burnout is here to help you better manage your stress and responsibilities as a leader.

What Does Burnout Look Like?

Burnout is on the rise. In recent years, it’s become a legitimate issue in many workforces across Australia. Research shows that up to 89 percent of employees work later than they should. So if employees are doing it, rest assured, the CEO is probably working late, too.

This has given rise to a culture of major imbalance in the work-life ratio. And this is a precursor to burnout. Aside from that, overworked employees and business leaders also promote a culture of dysfunction in the workplace. It can lead to a business culture prone to confusion, unnecessary power plays, and micromanagement.

But what exactly are the signs of burnout?

In summary, it’s a state of physical, psychological, and emotional fatigue. It usually results from prolonged periods of stress or intense bouts of stress. However, burnout does not look the same for everyone. We all handle stress in different ways based on our genetic backgrounds.

But some of the hallmark symptoms of burnout include:

  • A general feeling of exhaustion
  • Bouts of frequent frustration
  • Difficulty concentrating, i.e. poor cognitive focus
  • A decrease in work performance
  • Interpersonal issues between you, employees, and even family members
  • An array of health issues
  • Disrupted sleep patterns or poor sleep quality

With this in mind, there are ways to avoid CEO burnout, despite the amount of pressure on your shoulders as a business leader. What’s important to realize is that you have to put yourself first (as difficult as that might be).

This is the only way you can prioritise your health and mental well-being in order to perform at your best. Here are a few tips:


1. Avoiding Burnout Means Disconnecting 

In the digital age we live in today, it’s easy to see why business burnout is so common among business leaders. You never really get the chance to ”switch off” because you’re always connected to your work in an online and electronic sense.

With constant phone calls, emails, and notifications that come from several different devices, the concept of always being connected to your work is actually unhealthy. It does not allow you the mental escape that you need in order to de-stress and recharge.

When you’re exposed to a barrage of stressors, even if it’s something as minor as a text, it’s a trigger. This is why it’s so important to manage your time well and learn to disconnect from work in every sense.

You can do this by breaking your day up into scheduled blocks of time that allow you to focus on work when you need to. And then focus on yourself and your family as a means of de-stressing.

2. Learn To Lean on Your Support Network 

We get it, asking for help as a business leader is not always easy. It might feel like a tremendous amount of pressure on your shoulders as you strive to achieve success, but you can’t go at it alone. The mark of good leadership is knowing when you need to ask for help and using your support system.

Overcoming and avoiding burnout at work involves building a positive support network around you that you can rely on. This includes both your professional and personal support systems.

Make sure you know who you can turn to when you need help in a professional sense. That might mean finding a professional peer group or mentor or hiring yourself a reliable assistant (or two).

In your personal life, make time for social gatherings and family time. You want to focus on quality time with your loved ones as a way to snap out of business mode and have a little fun/blow off some steam.

3. Feed Your Emotional Health

It might not seem like a priority to you, but when was the last time you checked in on your emotional well-being? If you fail to recognize that your emotional health is just as important as mental and physical health, you could burn out quicker than you realize.

As a business leader, it’s easy to become bogged down by business productivity, KPIs, and your bottom line. And as a result, your emotional health is pushed to the wayside.

But what does it mean to prioritise your emotional well-being? Basically, this means you need to feed and nourish your soul. It’s essential to make time for hobbies and activities that allow for an emotional release.

Whether it’s exercising, setting time aside to read a good novel, painting, cooking, or just playing with your kids. While you might not have time to go on a three-week-long getaway to the Amalfi Coast, these small acts of service for your emotional well-being can lift your spirits and help you de-stress.

4. Give Your Work Some Context

Let’s be honest, there are parts of your job as a business leader that you might dread. Whether it’s tax season, administrative work, or replying to emails, it’s not always possible to love every single aspect of your work.

So, a good way to remind yourself that what you’re doing is ”all worth it” is to give your work some context. You want to try and achieve this on a daily basis in order to avoid burnout.

What does this involve? It’s as simple as setting aside some time for your favourite aspect of your work. I.e. the tasks that you really enjoy doing. Whether that’s meeting with clients, design work, working on research, or crunching some numbers.

5. Prioritise Delegation and Communication 

This concept is pretty similar to leaning on your support network. But what delegation really means is making sure you have the right team in place, with the right tools and methodologies to help you achieve success.

It’s important to understand who works best in each aspect of your business. In other words, your organisational planning is a huge part of successful delegation.

Then there’s communication. This is an absolutely vital part of how your business operates and how you manage what’s on your plate. Clear, open lines of communication build confidence within an organisation. You want to make sure you communicate with your team as often as possible.

This doesn’t have to mean hour-long meetings. It’s as simple and quick as an email, text, short phone call or instant message to regularly check-in.

Are You a Business Leader in Need of Guidance?

At 2020 Exchange, our focus is to help you become a better business leader through our leading-edge CEO program. By learning coping strategies and avoiding burnout, you can build a long-term strategy for growth and success in your business.

If you have a desire to learn and grow your skillset, check out our CEO program today.