CEO Burnout

As external business partners, we often receive emails from our clients (CEOs and General Managers) in the early hours of the morning.  We have all been there, waking up in the middle of the night remembering that we forgot to pick up the dry cleaning or call Grandma for her birthday.  But what do you do when you notice that a Senior Leader in your organisation is frequently doing ‘business’ in the early hours of the morning, sending numerous emails and churning through tasks that they couldn’t get to during normal business hours?

Throughout our daily interactions with business owners and leaders we are noticing that most, if not all, are starting to feel the ‘pinch’ following the events of last year.  Financial pressures, managing the needs of employees working remotely and trying to remain positive when everyone is looking to them for answers.  The CEO is most often the meat in the sandwich, receiving pressure from above and below.  Here are some signs that a leader may be suffering and needs a gentle nudge in the right direction…

Burnout Signs:

  1. Working longer hours or at unusual times of the day/night
  2. Exhaustion (appearing tired or withdrawn, lacking energy, not eating right)
  3. Irritability
  4. Emotional outbursts that are unusual or outside of their usual temperament
  5. Lack of self-care and changes to normal routine/physical appearance
  6. Loss of motivation for everyday tasks that they used to find enjoyable.

While it may be difficult to approach your manager and voice your concerns, sometimes it takes another person to validate that we are working too hard or taking on too much before we ask for help.  A simple, ‘I’ve noticed you haven’t been yourself lately, is everything ok?’ may be just enough to open the communication channels and get the conversation flowing.

If you are a CEO reading this and thinking to yourself, ‘Hey, that’s me,’ maybe it is time you considered investing in an Executive Coach. Radford HR support a number of our clients in this space.  As Senior Leaders you don’t have to sit in silence suffering from the stigma that you must have everything together, all of the time.  Having a Coach gives you the opportunity to engage with an independent third party and personal sounding board.  Someone that you can express your concerns, fears, and struggles to, in a supportive, non-judgmental environment.

Here are some words of advice from Leadership Coach, Melissa Parente…

As an Executive Coach, I have seen many a Senior Leader who feels they are on the verge of burning out.  I have also witnessed the innumerable benefits of them enlisting a source of support to find strategies to overcome burnout.

When the Executive has reached out for help, we often identify that it’s not just the professional environment that is the main cause. There can be multiple factors which are contributing to stress and feelings of burn out. When we approach the sessions holistically, the Executive can begin to make sense of how they’ve arrived at this point and then implement the actions required to move through it to find more agency and a renewed sense of control within the situation.

The solutions will be different for each person and are directed by the coaching client. Adopting new and sustainable behaviours (both personally and professionally), learning to communicate more effectively with key stakeholders and implementing a wellbeing plan (exercise, diet, mindfulness practice, adequate sleep, connection with family and friends, etc) are just some of the strategies that have brought more balance to an Executive who is experiencing the impact of competing demands and prolonged stress in their lives.

If you are an employee and are concerned about your leader, reach out to us for a free confidential chat.