How to Avoid Leadership Burnout

Since leadership can be challenging and difficult it is important to have and maintain habits that will allow you to avoid a leadership burnout. If you endure in the leadership race then you have a better chance of reaching your potential and leaving a lasting legacy. Here are some common signs a leader is moving in the direction of a burnout:

  • They do not delegate and take on more than they can productively accomplish themselves.
  • They spend an unhealthy amount of time working or thinking about work.
  • They tell themselves they “can” and “need” to do it all.
  • They don’t believe they need breaks or vacations.

To help you avoid a leadership burnout, apply these 3 principles into your life:

1. Rest once a week- To avoid a burnout then make it a priority to take a day off to rest. Most people would say, they don’t have time to take an entire day off to rest. However Loren Pinilis wrote an insightful posted about, The Secret to Taking a Sabbath day of Rest. In the post he wrote, “The critical factor in a day of rest is what happens the other six days”. The take away for us to remember is to work hard 6 days a week the to take a day off.

2. Maintain good habits- The habits a leader has will either drive them to success or cause them to burnout. The definition of a habit is “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.” If you want to be and stay motivated and driven then apply these habits into your daily routine:

  • Drink Water- The majority of people are dehydrated which can prevent them from working on all cylinders. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Exercise- Make it a point to exercise. When you exercise it releases endorphins that produce energy.
  • Nourishment Centers- Nourishment Centers are simply areas in your life that pull at your heart and soul. Make sure you have and apply them into your life.
  • Sleep- Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

3. Relationships- The relationships we have can help prevent us from burning out. A “lone ranger” leader who does not build or maintain relationships with others is in danger of quickly burning out. The journey of leadership and life is not meant to be done alone. The relationships are the glue that can hold a person together. This is why it’s essential to have people around you to encourage and add value to your life, during both the good and hard times.

Questions: What are some other ways to avoid a leadership burnout?How do you avoid burnout?

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28 thoughts on “How to Avoid Leadership Burnout

  1. Great thoughts today, Dan!

    I would add that vacations are important. My dad always said that we should incorporate sabbath rest into our every day routine. 1 minute of sabbath every hour. 1 hour of sabbath every day. 1 day of sabbath every week…. You get the picture.

  2. Good practical suggestions Dan. I would add “find a hobby.” I exercise (cycling and Bowflex) but also need to just chill sometimes. I like to do 1000 word jigsaw puzzles.

    • Great addition Bill. Finding and having a hobby can really help a person avoid burnout. It’s great to hear you have hobby’s. I think this is especially important for people who are in a church leadership position. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Great post Dan. A few years ago, I experienced leadership burnout. It was not a pleasurable. The three principles that you gave were good. I have learned to delegate responsibilities and not micro manage.

  4. Dan, I will have to say take vacations with your family or the people you love. Turn events into mini vacations to get away. I just did that and I’m refreshed and ready for the next 90 day run in my business. All your points were awesome. Thanks.

  5. I think it’s important not to put all your “eggs into one basket” or “bite off more than you can chew.” Meaning, don’t add project after project to your already growing “To Do” list.

    This is an area professionally I am trying to work through. I am on two separate committees right now which are both very active and productive. But they are also time consuming and can at times take time away from my current paid position.

    This past week I have been better at time management and balancing my work flow between my job and committee work. The first hour and half of work I spend time working on committee stuff & the rest of the day I do my main job. I have found this method helpful.

    I think if we want to avoid any type of burnout we need to assess where we are spending our time and make appropriate adjustments when necessary. I have also found that when I get input from other coworkers, particularly my Supervisor it makes the process between committee work and my job easier and more flexible.

    The key point that resonated most with me is #3.

    Great thoughts Dan!

    • Your Busy Julie. A paid job and being on two committees can be time consuming. Time management and balance is so important when it comes to not burning out. It sounds like your getting into a routine that works, which is good.

      I really like your point about “needing to assess where we are spending our time and make appropriate adjustments.” This is so essential when it comes to living a balanced life and not burning out.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and share.

  6. Great post and principles, Dan! Another reason for burnout is to be driven by needs. Needs arise often and everywhere. But we are called to be driven by purpose. Therefore knowing and staying on one’s purpose can help overcome burnout.

  7. I think another habit is at the end of a day, if possible turn the work part or leadership part of your life off. Take notes for the next day and shut down.

    I’m guilty of not taking enough time off, I’m in a bad habit of it because it’s easier. I gotta work on that. Thanks for the reminder…

    • Floyd,

      Great additional point about taking time at the end of the day to shut down.

      I totally relate with you about not taking enough time off. However the past month I have been making it a point to take a day off each week. To rest and spend with my family. I hope you get in the habit of taking more time off.

      Looking forward to meeting you (in person) this summer.

  8. Hey Dan,

    I try to avoid burnout not only by training up others, so that I actually have someone to delegate to, but also by remembering that I can’t and am not supposed to do it all. Instead of feeling like I have to run at my max all of time, I’ve learned to recognize that whatever I don’t get done, will still be there tomorrow. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? 😉

    • Great points Marlee. I think it’s so vital to remember, “we can’t or are not suppose to do it all.” Being able to delegate is so important. Totally right about what can’t be done today can be done tomorrow. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Taking time off is a huge one for me. I also am energized when my team takes time to just dream and vision. That, more than anything else, refreshes me and keeps me going.

    • Jason,

      Ditto about taking time off. It’s amazing how being around like minded people who have the same type of vision can energize us. Thanks for taking the time to read and share.