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Monday, March 20, 2023

3 Ways Leaders Can Prevent Stress and Burnout

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Burnout is an unfortunate reality for many business leaders and their teams. We’re living in a time of high stress in the workplace, with nearly 3 in 5 employees saying they have experienced negative impacts of workplace stress in the last month.

If you’re a leader at your company, burnout can wreak havoc on your team. You might be used to powering through projects to meet deadlines and reach your goals, but you could be doing more harm than good to yourself and those who work for you. As a leader, pushing yourself too hard can make you more indecisive and less confident. You might also start to resent your position and your job, rather than feel passionate about it.

If you’re struggling and starting to burn out, your team is likely to notice and struggle. So, what can you do to prevent stress and burnout in the workplace? How can you maintain creativity, and positivity, and foster a work environment that promotes mental health? Let’s cover a few helpful solutions.

1. Understand the Symptoms

One of the best ways to stop leadership burnout in its tracks is to understand what it looks like. You might be so used to pushing through your stress and ignoring your exhaustion that you’ve lost sight of what your body is telling you. Some of the most common signs of burnout include:


       Feeling distanced from your job;

       Negative emotions associated with your job;



       Lack of motivation.

As a leader, it’s normal to feel like there’s a heavy weight on your shoulders. You’re responsible for your team, and your focus is on supporting everyone else while helping them reach their goals.

But, that doesn’t mean ignoring your own well-being.

If you’ve started to notice some of the signs above, consider making structural, operational, and even philosophical changes to the way you run things. That might include taking a step back from your responsibilities, taking more frequent breaks, or lightening your workload. Not only will you benefit from those changes, but your team is more likely to feel less stressed, too.

2. Have a Plan With a Purpose

It’s easy to get overly stressed when you feel like you don’t have a plan in place. Maybe your team is working on a project-by-project basis and every assignment that comes in requires something different. That can be difficult to manage and keep track of when you’re working on multiple things at a time. It can be even harder when you’re trying to avoid remote work burnout.

It’s hard enough to keep everyone on the same page. When you add in remote work, you add the possibility of different time zones, mediated communication channels, and the illusion of less control. If your team isn’t physically in front of you, it may be hard to feel like you have an eye on their productivity — much less their mental health. However, it’s entirely possible to effectively lead a remote team. Keep tabs on how they’re feeling and:

       Foster a welcoming remote work environment where they can come to you with their struggles;

       Pay attention to when they clock in and clock out, and establish clear working hours and boundaries to help keep them from overworking when stressed;

       Provide remote employees with the tools they need to create a productive home office;

       Encourage cameras on for video calls, and take note of preferences and shifts in demeanor;

       Streamline their remote work plan so that they work smarter, not harder.

One of the best ways to stay on track, establish healthy routines, and create a streamlined process for your team, in-office or out, is to have an overall strategy in place. A dedicated blueprint for everyone to follow will make your work more organized and effective. You’ll have an easier time reaching your goals, and your work will be more influential. Your strategy should:

       Establish your goals;

       Define team member roles;

       Decide the best communication channels to use;

       Delineate task completion steps;

       Establish a priority system for tasks and communication;

       Identify and acquire tools to complete repetitive, mundane tasks;

       Audit and analyze your current efforts.

While the details of your strategy can change with each project, when everyone follows the basic outline of an overarching plan, things will be far more cohesive and less stressful. You’ll also be more confident in your work as you act with a specific purpose and do work that has an impact.

3. Practice Self-care

Leadership and self-care don’t always go hand-in-hand, but they should.

Self-care isn’t selfish, and it doesn’t mean you’re not taking responsibility for your leadership role. Good leaders encourage their employees to prioritize their mental and physical health. You might check in with them frequently, encourage them to take breaks or extra time off, and offer flexible hours so they can have a healthy work-life balance.

If you’re not doing the same things for yourself, you’ll risk burning out quickly.

While self-care looks different for everyone, there are plenty of easy ways to incorporate it into your daily routine, including:

       Cooking healthy meals;



       Organizing your home;

       Practicing mindfulness;

       Prioritizing sleep.

You can also practice self-care in the workplace by delegating more of your responsibilities and tasks. Leadership is about recognizing the best people for certain jobs and putting your trust in them to get the work done. You don’t have to handle everything on your own. As the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. By delegating certain things, you’ll have more time to focus on the most important tasks on your “to-do” list, and you’ll boost your team’s confidence by showing that you trust and believe in them.

Leaders should be productive and inspiring. The last thing you want is to lose your spark and your passion for your career because of burnout. Keep these tips in mind to keep stress at bay, boost your well-being, and remain a positive influential presence on your team.

About the Author: Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology and business topics are his favorite. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.

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