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Leading On Empty – The Burnout Epidemic Amongst Leaders

Written by: Omu Obilor, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Omu Obilor

Leadership roles are often associated with significant responsibilities and high expectations, but what happens when those in leadership positions begin to feel burnt out and lack motivation? The prevalence of burnout among leaders is a growing concern in today's fast-paced and demanding professional world. Leaders feeling burnt out and lacking motivation is a pressing issue that can have significant consequences for individuals and organizations. By recognizing the causes and consequences of burnout, and implementing strategies to combat it, leaders can safeguard their well-being, enhance their motivation, and lead their teams with renewed energy and effectiveness. Organisations must foster a culture that values work-life balance, supports leaders in times of stress, and promotes sustainable leadership practices to prevent burnout and ensure long-term success.

A woman having a burnout.

Understanding burnout and lack of motivation

Burnout is characterized by physical and emotional exhaustion, a sense of cynicism or detachment from work, and a decrease in personal accomplishment. When leaders experience burnout, it affects their well-being and has a ripple effect on their teams and organizations. Burnout can manifest as a lack of motivation, decreased productivity, decreased job satisfaction, and even compromised decision-making abilities.

Causes of burnout

  • Excessive Workload: Leaders often shoulder heavy workloads, working long hours and dealing with many responsibilities. This constant pressure can lead to exhaustion and eventual burnout.

  • High Expectations: Leaders are expected to perform consistently, meet targets, and deliver results. The fear of failure and the relentless pursuit of success can contribute to burnout.

  • Lack of Support: Leaders may feel isolated in their roles, lacking the necessary support and understanding from their peers and superiors. This can create a sense of loneliness and exacerbate burnout.

  • Role Conflict and Ambiguity: Leaders often face conflicting demands, navigate complex situations, and make difficult decisions. The constant ambiguity and pressure to find solutions can contribute to burnout.

Consequences of burnout

  • Decreased Performance: Burnout can result in decreased productivity, compromised decision-making abilities, and reduced creativity. This ultimately hampers the leader's effectiveness and impacts the organisation's success.

  • Increased Turnover: Burnout often leads to increased turnover rates among leaders. When leaders feel overwhelmed and lack motivation, they may seek opportunities elsewhere or opt for early retirement, leaving the organization unstable.

  • Negative Impact on Team Morale: Leaders who are burnt out may unintentionally transmit their stress and lack of motivation to their teams. This can create a toxic work environment, lowering morale and diminishing overall team performance.

Strategies to combat burnout and enhance motivation

  • Self-Care: Leaders must prioritize their well-being by engaging in self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Taking breaks, delegating tasks, and setting boundaries can help reduce burnout.

  • Seek Support: Leaders should actively seek support from mentors, coaches, or peers who can provide guidance, advice, and a listening ear. Peer networks and professional associations can be valuable resources for support.

  • Delegate and Empower: Effective delegation of tasks and empowering team members to take ownership of their responsibilities can relieve leaders of excessive workloads and foster a sense of shared responsibility.

  • Goal Alignment and Realistic Expectations: Leaders should reassess their goals and ensure they are aligned with their values and long-term vision. Setting realistic expectations and celebrating small wins along the way can reignite motivation.

  • Continuous Learning and Development: Engaging in professional development activities, attending workshops or conferences, and seeking new challenges can help leaders stay motivated and inspired.

Visit Omu's website to learn more!

Omu Obilor Brainz Magazine

Omu Obilor, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Omu is an International Coach, Speaker, Trainer, and Thought Leader. Her mantra is “Living my best life," this she achieves by living Intentionally.

Her mission in life is to empower others to live their best life, curating the life they want for themselves.

As a founding member of the John Maxwell Team, she has mastered intentional living in personal and professional life.

She performs the role of Executive Director and National Trainer in Business Network International (BNI), which empowered her to master training networking.

Omu has, over the years, poured out her all into the lives of her clients. Walking them through the various transitions in life and mentoring them through the transformation. She is driven by her passion for helping individuals realize that it is possible to live the life they dream of.

Extremely passionate about Transformation in people, she works tirelessly to see this through.

Her approach is designed to increase awareness and accountability to increase morale and determine values.

She runs a mentor mind group for women looking to grow in their personal and professional lives. She also runs masterminds monthly, amongst others.



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