Burnout of leadership at workplace, tips to focus on leaders' well-being

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jul 02, 2023 01:22 PM IST

Experts address burnout of leadership at the workplace and share tips to focus on the significance of leaders' well-being for better mental health

Burnout among leaders in the workplace is a pressing issue that can have significant consequences on both individuals and organisations as the demanding nature of leadership roles, coupled with high expectations, long hours and the need to make difficult decisions, can lead to chronic stress and exhaustion. Leaders often bear the weight of responsibilities and face constant pressure to deliver results, which can take a toll on their mental, emotional and physical well-being.

Burnout of leadership at workplace, focus on significance of leaders' well-being (Photo by Mapbox on Unsplash)
Burnout of leadership at workplace, focus on significance of leaders' well-being (Photo by Mapbox on Unsplash)

Burnout may manifest as feelings of cynicism, detachment and a sense of ineffectiveness where it not only affects the leaders personally but also has a ripple effect on their teams and the overall work environment. To address and prevent burnout, organisations should foster a supportive culture that promotes work-life balance, encourages open communication, provides resources for stress management and prioritises self-care and professional development for leaders.

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In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Sharad Mehra, CEO (APAC) at Global University Systems, shared, “The wellbeing of leaders isn't just a matter of personal concern; it has far-reaching implications for the overall success and performance of an organisation. I firmly believe that prioritising the well-being of our leaders is not only a moral imperative but also has strategic advantages. When leaders are stressed, overwhelmed, or burnt out, it affects their decision-making abilities, their creativity and their ability to inspire and motivate others. This stress can have a cascading effect on the entire organisation, leading to decreased productivity, low morale among employees and a decline in overall performance.”

He highlighted, “Investing in the well-being of leaders goes beyond providing perks or superficial support. It requires a genuine commitment to creating a culture that promotes work-life balance, encourages open communication, and provides resources for self-care and personal growth. This can include initiatives such as flexible work arrangements, stress management programs, leadership development opportunities and access to mental health support, etc. Additionally, it is essential for leaders to switch on and off from work mode, reboot and refresh in order to maintain a balanced life, stay healthy and motivated. This way they can continue to inspire team members, foster a culture of trust and collaboration, and create an environment where innovation and creativity thrive.”

Mitalee Dabral, VP HR at ShareChat, said, “The true impact of leadership goes beyond guidance and instructions and resonates with the wellbeing of their workforce. As role models, leaders set the tone, not just in terms of tasks but also in their demeanour. By putting their holistic wellbeing first and nurturing their mental, physical, and emotional health, leaders provide a positive example for their team members and enable them to thrive. A leader's commitment to self-care paves the path for an organization's success, as it fuels a culture of growth, resilience, and unwavering dedication. Leading by example, leaders unlock their full potential and inspire others, paving a collective journey that yields outstanding results.”

According to Satish NS, President at Haier India, true leadership lies in team spirit, compassion, seamless communication and creating a perfect work-life balance that brings out the best. He said, “Yes, it is true that the well-being of the leadership has a direct impact on the happiness and engagement of the employees. When leaders prioritise their own physical and mental health, they are able to create a supportive environment where trust, feedback and innovation thrive. Healthy leaders are more likely to communicate effectively with their employees, leading to better collaboration and teamwork. Prioritise self-care, open communication and time management.”

Leaders themselves need to recognise the signs of burnout and take proactive steps to recharge, seek support, delegate tasks and establish boundaries to maintain their health and effectiveness in their roles. By addressing burnout, organisations can create healthier work environments, enhance leadership resilience and promote sustainable success.

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