Leadership & People Management
An Effective Guide To Avoid Burnout as a Leader

An Effective Guide To Avoid Burnout as a Leader

An Effective Guide To Avoid Burnout as a Leader

Burnout. Do you remember the first time you heard that word? Do you remember the last time you hopped on your laptop to work and was excited to do so? Can you pinpoint a timeframe when you weren’t always irritated at work? That’s the reality of the burnout every leader wants to avoid.

But burning out is just so common nowadays. Be it the shift to working hybrid or fully remote, or just the heaps of information pushed down employees' and managers' gullets alike, everyone’s trying to avoid burnout like the plague. And, rightfully so. Any of you who’ve dealt with it in the past or are suspecting that you’re facing it now will know that it’s not just a fancy buzzword.

Alas, I digress. You’re here to learn how to avoid burnout as a leader, and that’s exactly what we’ll find out. But first, we’ll have to take a look at the core of the issue, as this will help you prevent it from taking over.

Leadership Burnout – What It Is and Who Can Suffer From It

Strap up, folks! It’s time to dive down the rabbit hole of leadership burnout. By definition, leadership burnout is physical and mental fatigue, and it affects people in managerial positions. Simple enough, right?

Well, not really. You see, this doesn’t differentiate burnout from being tired or even lazy. Burning out doesn’t simply mean being exhausted, fatigued, and the like. It means that you don’t have the mental stamina to perform at work and in your personal life.

Leadership burnout, in particular, comes with an overall negative feeling for anything work-related. You know what I’m talking about. Not wanting to get out of bed, even though you’ve slept 8-9 hours? Feeling lethargic all throughout the day, even when you’re back home, even though you’re not sick? Yes, that’s burnout.

That said, those aren’t the only signs of burnout…

Telltale Signs of Leadership Fatigue – Don’t Ignore These!

Burnout, being classified as an actual illness, comes with its set of signs. I know that many of these will sound familiar. Everyone gets unmotivated every once in a while. The issue arises when any of these are prolonged, which are telltale signs of leadership fatigue.

Lack Of Motivation

Lack of motivation is a big one, and, for many executives, it doesn’t make sense. They’ve put in the time and effort on their project, their “baby”, yet they might feel unmotivated to invest more time in it.

The same goes for managers. If you don’t feel that spark anymore, that fiery passion pushing you to work on that new project, something’s up. And it could very well be burnout.


As we stated above, exhaustion is often intertwined with burnout. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll feel exhausted while you’re at work; you might even feel alright once you’re back home.

But, if there are days when you just sink into the couch and scroll Reddit for hours once you’re done with work, it’s a big red flag. As a leader, you’re the one who’s meant to come up with the big ideas, which is certainly not happening when you can barely drag yourself back home.

Low Energy Levels

Similar to exhaustion, low energy levels come to entail an overall dissatisfaction at work. Most confident leaders envision their future with their team, which is enough to get them through the workday and keep them energized.

But, when even that’s not working for you, or you can’t even bother to think about what the future holds… that’s screaming burnout.

Mood Shifts

Those unexpected swings from frustration to sadness that seem to come out of nowhere? Yeah, not great. As the backbone of your team, your mood can set the tone for the whole group. These emotional swings can disrupt that crucial dynamic and potentially harm both your relationships and the overall vibe at work.

This isn’t just about you; it’s about the ripple effect your mood can have on your team’s productivity and overall morale. It’s essential for leaders, particularly executives, to maintain a steady emotional state to foster a positive work environment. When mood swings are in play, burnout is in charge.

Brain Fog

What was the entry above? Oh, right, mood shifts. And what tasks did I need to get done today? Yeah, right…Welcome to brain fog, an all-too-common symptom of burnout.

As a leader, you need sharp, clear thinking. And let me tell you that this is significantly impacted when brain fog sets in. It hinders your effectiveness, potentially leading to poor decisions with far-reaching consequences. Recognize this symptom and tackle it head-on to maintain your leadership prowess.

Disturbed Sleep

Tossing and turning, with sleep feeling like a distant dream? Disturbed sleep patterns could be a sign of burnout. As leaders, rest is crucial to recharge and face challenges with a clear mind.

Without proper sleep, your decision-making, patience, and overall performance can take a hit, which can have long-term effects on your health. Don't let disturbed sleep add to your burnout; address it and prioritize rest.

What Are The Main Causes Of Executive Burnout

You know the signs, but what about the why? Why do so many executives suffer from burnout? Better yet, why is executive burnout even a thing in the 21st century? Let’s find out.

The Never-Ending Workload

As an executive, you’ve got results to deliver, and sometimes, it feels like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. That mountain of tasks can really start to weigh you down, leading you straight to Burnout City. It's only when you recognize that the workload has become so unsustainable, so overpowering, that you can take steps to manage it effectively.

Feeling Like an Island

Leadership can be a lonely gig. The decisions you make and the responsibilities you carry aren’t always apparent to those around you. That’s one of the sad realities of executive life today.

And rightfully so; this creates a sense of isolation, and without a solid support network, burnout can easily set in. It’s vital to find like-minded individuals who understand the unique challenges leaders face and can offer support and guidance.

The Weight of Leadership

Making decisions is part and parcel of being a leader. But let’s not kid ourselves; these decisions can have major implications. And when you’re constantly under that pressure, it can take a serious toll on your mental health. It’s simply vital to develop coping strategies to manage this stress and maintain a healthy perspective.

The Elusive Work-Life Balance

I know, I know. Finding that sweet spot between work and home life, especially if you work from home, feels like hell on earth. But without clear boundaries, burnout is just waiting to pounce. It’s crucial to prioritize self-care, as we’ll see right below.

How Can You Avoid Burnout as a Leader

Burning out isn't a foregone conclusion. In fact, with some mindful practices and strategic steps, you can not only fend off burnout but also rejuvenate your passion and focus. Here’s how:

Spot the Issues Early On

Awareness – your first line of defense against burnout. When you start noticing that your energy is waning or irritations are piling up, it's time to pause and reflect. Don't brush off these early signs. Instead, use them as a wake-up call to dig deeper and understand what’s really going on.

Maybe there's a particular project that's draining you, or perhaps you're feeling disconnected from your team. Whatever the cause, acknowledging these potential issues is the first thing to do when burnout starts creeping up on you.


Here’s the truth: self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. And as a leader, it's crucial. I’m talking about the basics here – getting enough sleep, eating foods that fuel you, and moving your body.

But self-care also extends to your mental health. Take some time to unwind and relax after work. Do some stuff that you like, activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Remember, it’s not selfish to prioritize your well-being. In fact, it’s one of the most selfless things you can do because when you’re at your best, you can give your best to your team.

Reflect on Your Goals

Your goals are your North Star, guiding you on your journey. Take some time to reflect on them. Are they still aligned with your values and passion? Have they evolved as you’ve grown as a leader?

Regular check-ins with your goals will ensure you’re on the right path and make any necessary course corrections along the way. And don't forget to celebrate the wins, big and small. Acknowledging your achievements will fuel your drive and keep you motivated.

Learn to Say No

This one’s tough, but it’s important. As a leader, you can’t be everything to everyone. Learning to say no is a crucial skill that will prevent you from spreading yourself too thin and heading face-first into the burnout wall.

Remember, it's okay to protect your precious time and energy. In fact, it’s necessary. By being selective about where you direct your focus, you’ll be able to give more to the things that truly matter.


You’ve got a team for a reason, so don’t be afraid to lean on them. Delegating tasks empowers your team to step up and showcase the skills they’ve been honing for the past year. Plus, you get to lay back for an extra hour. It’s a win-win!

Delegating tasks also fosters a sense of trust and collaboration that is crucial for a successful team dynamic. When your team sees that you trust them to take on important tasks, it builds their confidence and strengthens their commitment to the collective mission.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

This goes hand in hand with delegation. You don’t have to go it alone. Seeking advice from a mentor, talking through challenges with a coach, venting to a friend; all of that works in your favor.

Reaching out for support is a sign of strength and confidence, not weakness. It's also an opportunity to gain new perspectives and insights that can help you navigate whatever challenges you're facing. So, don’t hesitate to tap into your network. You might be surprised by the wealth of knowledge and support available to you.

How Can You Deal With Ongoing Burnout

Alright, let’s get real about this burnout thing. You’re here because chances are that you’re currently dealing with some form of this pesky shadow that seems to follow you around. But here's the deal: it doesn't have to be this way. We've got some solid strategies to kick burnout to the curb.

That to-do list of yours? It’s your arch-nemesis, right? Well, let’s change that, shall we? Get your team in on the action and delegate, delegate, delegate! They're ready to step up and show you what they've got, and you’re ready to catch a breath or two.

If that doesn’t work, just stop. Get your PTO, a sabbatical, whatever. Just take a break to relax and reinvigorate yourself. Forget about work for a couple of weeks and let your team shine. And, once you’re ready to get back to work, do so slowly, one task at a time.

And hey, don't ever feel like you're in this alone. Your network is like your personal superhero squad. Whether it’s your family, your pals, or even a pro coach, don’t hesitate to lean on them. A fresh perspective or just a good ol’ chat can work wonders.

But let's not lose sight of the big picture waiting for you in the future. Every now and then, just take a deep breath and look at where you're headed. Are you still pumped about your goals? Are you staying true to what fires you up? This reflection is your roadmap, guiding you back to your passion and away from burnout city.

Executive Burnout Coaching – R.I.D.E The Wave

All right, let’s wrap this up with a bang! Avoiding burnout as a leader isn’t about dodging responsibilities or taking the backseat. It’s about striding confidently on your leadership journey, lighting the flame of passion within your team and, most importantly, within yourself. And guess what? You’re not alone on this journey. We’ve got your back!

Think of Wave as your co-pilot on this epic adventure. With our expert guidance and your newly acquired strategies to fend off burnout, you’re all set to navigate the highs and lows of leadership. We're not just here to guide you; we're your cheerleaders, your support system, ready to celebrate every victory.

Interested in starting working on your goals? Book your first session now.

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