Corporate burnout is a growing concern, but the recognition of wellness management is also increasing. As an executive coach, I've navigated this issue extensively with senior professionals like you. In this post, we'll describe 'burnout' and arm you with practical strategies to nurture resilience and successful leadership. 
Challenging perceptions and embracing change 
Corporate burnout, often glorified as a symbol of hard work and dedication, permeates workplace culture. However, I am always surprised by how frequently we ignore the detrimental effects.. Gallup's employee burnout statistics demonstrates how: while hours worked are significant, the quality of the work is so much more important to well-being. 
Despite its prevalence, it never takes long in any of my conversations with the people I have helped, to identify that a stigma exists around acknowledging burnout; and it is seen as a weakness rather than a legitimate concern. This stigma harms individuals and impedes organisational progress by silencing crucial conversations. Nevertheless, there's reason for hope as modern workplaces increasingly acknowledge the legitimacy of burnout. 
What is burnout? Is it stress? 
The World Health Organisation's classification of burnout as an occupational phenomenon underscores its importance in workplace well-being. Effectively addressing burnout requires a holistic approach that places a premium on supporting the well-being of all employees. 
Burnout is more than just feeling stressed out; it's a syndrome that develops from unmanaged chronic workplace stress. Three distinct dimensions characterise it: 
Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion: These feelings can manifest in employees experiencing burnout, leaving them physically and emotionally drained and lacking the energy to cope with the demands of their jobs. 
Increased mental distance from one's job: Burnout can lead individuals to become disengaged or detached from their work, fostering feelings of negativity or cynicism towards their job. 
Reduced professional efficacy: Another hallmark of burnout is a diminished sense of accomplishment or effectiveness in one's work role. 
Recognising these dimensions is essential for individuals and organisations to address burnout effectively and promote a healthier work environment. 
What is the impact of burnout? How bad is it? 
Burnout is not just a buzzword; it's a pervasive issue affecting the well-being of individuals in the workforce. The Mental Health UK: The Burnout Report 2024 sheds light on the severity of this concern. Here are some key findings that underscore the magnitude of the issue: 
High levels of stress across the board: According to the report, a staggering 9 in 10 UK adults experienced high or extreme stress in the past year. Overwhelmingly, 91% of respondents acknowledged facing high or extreme levels of pressure or anxiety; almost a third (29%) admitted to experiencing stress on a "frequent" basis. 
Challenges in managing stress: The report indicates that almost a quarter of UK adults, precisely 24%, feel unable to manage stress and pressure levels. While the majority (73%) express confidence in handling stress, this significant percentage facing difficulties underscores the urgent need for targeted interventions and support mechanisms. 
The impact on the workplace: One of the most concerning findings is that one in five workers (20%) took time off work in the past year due to poor mental health caused by pressure or stress. Recent research suggests that many people took sick days, potentially due to burnout rather than physical illness. 
These findings paint a stark picture of the regularity and consequences of burnout. There is an urgent need for individuals and organisations to prioritise mental health and implement effective strategies to mitigate this escalating issue. 
Who is susceptible to burnout, and what causes it? 
Various factors influence individuals' susceptibility to experiencing burnout in the workplace. I have found that: 
Senior professionals, such as business owners, founders, key decision-makers, and senior managers, are particularly vulnerable due to their heightened pressures and responsibilities. 
Perfectionist tendencies and high levels of job-related stress further increase the risk of burnout. Additionally, people needing more adequate support systems or working in environments with poor work-life balance are prone to experiencing burnout. 
Lacking a sense of purpose can exacerbate burnout risk. When individuals feel that their actions lack meaning or fail to contribute to something they care about, it can lead to disillusionment and exhaustion. 
How to spot burnout in the workplace 
Identifying signs of burnout within a company is crucial for effective intervention and support. From my experience working with clients, several common indicators suggest that a company may be experiencing employee burnout. 
Absenteeism and turnover rates: Increasing employee absenteeism and increased staff turnover rates can be the first signs. Additionally, there may be a prevailing sense of low motivation among the workforce, coupled with employees consistently working long hours. 
Low motivation and performance anxiety: Feedback from employees that they are constantly striving to meet unrealistic deadlines is also a red flag. A perpetual need to perform can increase stress levels, leading to employee burnout. 
By recognising these signs early on, companies can proactively address burnout and foster a healthier work environment. 
What are we not saying about burnout? 
One critical aspect often overlooked in discussions about burnout is recognising its presence before it escalates to a crisis point. It's common for individuals only to acknowledge their burnout once it has reached a debilitating stage. Rarely do we hear someone say, "I am experiencing burnout and cannot do X"; it's when they get to breaking point that they identify it as burnout. 
Recognising burnout symptoms in others, like close colleagues or family, is crucial. Being aware allows for timely support and intervention. 
Building resilience: practical steps for effective leadership 
A recent survey showed that job-related stress affects four in ten adults, surpassing concerns like finances and family. Despite the benefits of discussing feelings, many struggle due to societal norms and overwhelming emotions such as guilt or shame. 
An executive coach plays a vital role in helping senior professionals manage stress through regular coaching sessions. These sessions focus on raising awareness, challenging limiting beliefs, and fostering behavioural changes. By increasing self-awareness and identifying essential needs for workload management and happiness, the people that I have worked with have implemented strategies to maintain boundaries. 
Managing stress is a gradual process, often taking several months of self-awareness and focused efforts. Despite encountering resistance and setbacks, noticeable behavioural changes typically emerge by the six-month mark, laying the groundwork for addressing additional challenges. 
Conclusion: navigating burnout with resilience and support 
The escalating stress epidemic in the workplace demands proactive measures for identification and management. Recognising signs of burnout is critical, as evidenced by alarming statistics in recent studies. However, there's hope in practical interventions, such as executive coaching, equipping senior professionals with the tools to understand, address, and navigate stress effectively. My work with the people I have coached has shown that by fostering self-awareness, challenging limiting beliefs, and implementing behavioural changes, individuals can nurture resilience and pave the way for sustainable success and flourishing leadership amidst the challenges of burnout. 
Click here to download my burnout tip sheet. 
Ready to build resilience and thrive? Let's connect and explore how to work together to navigate burnout and unlock your potential. Reach out to me or connect on LinkedIn today! 
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