How Elite Executives Beat Burnout

Some studies have shown that 1 in every 3 working adults is suffering from varying degrees of burnout!

Burnout has been linked to coronary artery disease, hypertension, sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, and increased drug and alcohol use. Besides the huge personal toll, this obviously flows over into productivity and work performance. This costs your business money! Estimates peg the cost of this lost productivity due to burnout in the $10’s of billions per year in North America alone!

According to psychologist Christina Maslach in her 2016 HBR article, burnout arises from:

  1. Exhaustion – Being exhausted is the main symptom of burnout. It is a debilitating fatigue that affects a person’s ability to work, interact, and even think properly.
  2. Cynicism – This symptom typically manifests in a high conflict work environment. However, it can also show up during periods of extreme workload. Essentially, the employee becomes detached from coworkers, their work, and their customers.
  3. Inefficacy – Incompetence and lack of achievement is how inefficacy manifests itself. Again, during periods of intense workloads and changing marketplace, employees may never see the positive results of their hard work. They may become bogged down in politics or the minutia of the tasks at hand and begin to feel incompetent as a result.

How To Deal With Burnout

Maslach’s research indicates that changes in the workplace are usually required to fix the culture that initiated the burnout. However, individuals can take the following steps on their own to begin the recovery process.

  1. Prioritize self care – Replenish your physical, emotion, mental and spiritual energy. There are many ways to do this including; good sleep, healthy diet, exercise, social connection, meditating, prayer, journaling, volunteering, etc. See this post for ideas on how to do this.
  2. Shift your perspective – Do an honest evaluation of your work situation. Determine what is causing the burnout symptoms. Is it possible that you can change your perspective of the situation to make a difference in your work environment? Look for supportive relationships that you can build with coworkers or friends that can positively impact your work environment.
  3. Reduce exposure to job stressors – Take the evaluation of your workplace situation from the previous step and determine what is in your power to change. Go ahead and make the changes. If you cannot change your exposure to a stressor, can it be delegated or offloaded to someone else who may have more bandwidth? If not, you can begin to reset expectations with your staff, customers, and stakeholders to let them know what your new boundaries and limits are for these high stress activities.
  4. Seek out connections – The best way to counteract burnout is to build strong interpersonal relationships and to continue with a strong personal and professional development program. This includes utilizing coaches, mentors and professionals who can help you navigate through tough situations.

Take Action

Firstly, do an self-evaluation this week to determine your level or stress and burnout. Determine what steps you can take to reduce your stress levels and increase your productivity. Then encourage your staff to do the same. Finally, build a supportive, positive and productive work environment!

In conclusion, spend some time reviewing the following articles and taking some of the actions described to continuously improve your well-being.

  1. What Makes Business Success Worthless and How to Avoid It
  2. Time is More Valuable Than Diamonds so Stop Wasting It
  3. 3 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Fatigue and Burnout


Your outer world of attitudes, wealth, work, relationships and health will always be a reflection of your inner attitudes of mind.” Brian Tracy


What experience do you have dealing with burnout that would provide value to other readers? Leave your comments below!


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