With so many demands on you—in time, money and energy, just to name the top three—executive overwhelm and burnout can seem like inevitable side-effects of the job. In truth, there is not a lot you can do to change these external factors; however, it is possible to shift your self-talk and the way you handle stressors. Here are 7 strategies you can start implementing today to defeat executive burnout – and ward it off in the future.
- Build Resilience
A leader’s internal dialogue is one of the greatest factors influencing leadership capability. How do you respond when things don’t go as planned? Does what you express outwardly to your team differ from the conversation in your mind?
If you listen to negative self-talk or continue to ruminate over an unfortunate event, explore alternative responses. How might you shift the direction of those thoughts (or color them differently)? Instead of feeling stuck in the endless loop of what went wrong, identify what can be learned and where you and your team can improve.
2. Develop Trust in the Team
Do you have a team you trust to keep things running smoothly should you have an unexpected absence? Do you feel they have a clear vision of the brand and the team’s goals and objectives? If not, you are probably carrying the brunt of the company’s burden. Ensure you have the right people in place, commit to developing them, and clearly convey your needs and expectations.
3. Improve Work-Life Balance
Countless leaders express frustration over trying and failing to do it all in both their professional and personal lives. Striking the right work-life balance varies greatly from person to person, but one thing is true for everyone: Before you can create a balanced work-life, you need to clearly identify your values and priorities.
You need to determine what matters most to you. After getting your priorities in order, you will be better able to allocate your limited resources. In turn, this will help you and your team create and maintain greater work-life balance.
A couple decades ago, multitasking became a buzzword in our culture and people took pride in their ability to juggle tasks while spinning plates of deadlines. Today, researchers in multiple disciplines consistently find that multitasking does far more harm than good. For instance, MRI imaging has revealed that multitasking actually rewires the brain. Multitaskers have more difficulty paying attention and are less able to manage their working memories.
On the contrary, a laser-focus gives you an edge, both in life and in leadership. When you are pulled (or are pulling yourself) in many directions, that focus becomes diluted. If you retrain your brain to focus on one thing at a time, you allow yourself to become fully immersed. Leaders who practice serial tasking are rewarded with both higher productivity and improved relationships.
5. Monitor & Manage Stress
Stress is our bodies’ physiological reaction to perceived threats. From small “threats” like running late for a meeting to the larger ones like looming budget cuts, leaders are constantly bombarded with workplace stress. It’s unavoidable. Hans Selye, considered the father of stress management, said “The absence of stress is death.”
So … instead, you can learn to cope with stress by monitoring your reactions. Simply taking a minute to close your eyes and focus on your breathing can reboot your system. Additionally, quiet the negative self-talk and focus on what you can do.
6. Hold Healthy Emotional Boundaries
Executives are often viewed—by both employees and upper management—as the scapegoat for many company problems. A fast track for feeling overwhelmed is to take this personally. In addition, leaders who have a tendency to over-empathize and carry the added weight of others’ problems can quickly become emotionally drained. Reflect on your own tendencies in these regards and instead, find your personal “just right” balance. Only then will you be positioned to lead with finesse and emotional well-being.
7. Seek Support
The struggle of feeling overwhelmed and burned out is all too common among executives and leaders at all levels. Find support through executive coaching, leadership training and advice, personal counseling, conversations with trusted colleagues, etc. Whatever the source, support is crucial to keeping burnout and overwhelm at bay.
How Can Innolect Help?
If you saw yourself in this article, contact us for support and additional guidance. We help build the foundation for you to bring your best self to work, and we thrive on growing the leader in everyone. We are committed to helping leaders develop and grow their teams. Learn more about our approaches HERE.
To set up a consultation or training, contact us today. Additionally, our products and assessments help leaders develop the skills and capabilities needed to grow. Read our latest book: Ignite Your Imagination: 21 Ways to Learn.
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