rewarding as it is, being at the top can sometimes be a lonely experience for leaders. As mental-well-being conversations are taking precedence across the world, it's important for leaders to press the pause button and reboot. For effective leaders, it comes from within to 'eat last', be in an alert and zen mode simultaneously while driving changes in operations, manage increased work demands and hectic travelling schedules, adjusting to consumer and workforce needs. This requires adaptability, clear vision, resilience and energy from them for getting the job done, no matter what. In such a scenario, the first commitments they tend to break are the ones they have with themselves. Often this can lead to elevated stress and even burnout as they struggle to juggle challenges, keep their people upbeat and drive business.
According to the Development Dimensions International's Global Leadership Forecast 2021, nearly 60% of leaders reported they feel used up at the end of the workday, and only 20% of surveyed leaders believed they were effective at leading virtually. This was assessed from 15,000 leaders and 2,102 human resource professionals who represent more than 1,740 organizations in more than 24 industries around the world. The survey was conducted from February 2020 through July 2020.
Why is it important to combat leadership burnout? A burnout can lead to low motivation, resignation, emotional exhaustion, detachment and low efficiency. Leaders need to use their management skills to define their goals and strategies and recognise the right time to take a step back and work on improving their environment. It becomes easier for them to harness their strengths because they are skilled in strategic thinking and can create a healthier and more successful balance in their lives.
Ways to avoid burnout
- Reboot, revive, refresh: To be more impactful and transformative, make time for self-care time via micro-breaks & hobbies - exercise, sleep, healthy diet, set healthy boundaries. On a daily basis, leave the work at office and rewind by delving into our passion be it cooking, hitting the gym, reading, sports or anything else.
- Channel the 'flow': In psychology flow is a mental state where an individual's entire focus is on whatever activity he's performing. It's about immersing oneself mindfully, to enjoy whatever one is doing and blocking out all external distractions and noise. In short, live in the moment! For instance, I'm a passionate cricket enthusiast so when I'm on the cricket field as a batsman, my energized focus is only on the game and enjoying it.
- Ask for help! : Leaders cannot always have the solutions to everything. They have access to network and coaches. It's a good idea to tap into these resources and implement suggested changes.
- Vacation or workcation: Personally, it works for me to do a bit of work while vacationing. That way, nothing is piled up when I return to office. But do not wait for a vacation to take a break, that might be too late.
Impact of Leadership Well Being on Employees
- Leads to positive emotions, robust engagement with their employees.
- Creates a supportive environment at workplace: trust index is higher, feedback is valued.
- People value their work more and it is more meaningful.
- More room for innovation, creativity, inspiring people to grow personally & professionally.
- More emotional agility leading to healthier organizational culture.
Every leader needs to accept that not being perfect is quite alright and it's totally fine to take some time out for oneself. Being a leader is one of the toughest and motivating roles in life and if one is looking to ace it, then this outward journey begins from the inside.ll forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."
The author, Sharad Mehra, is CEO - Asia Pacific at Global University Systems (GUS).
The 'new-normal' leadership: Joining hearts & minds in the post COVID era
Let's take look at some leadership lessons that have emerged from the pandemic: Breakdown? No, breakthrough! These famous lines from the film Jerry McGuire best summarize the incredible opportunity the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded for global leadership.