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A Double Whammy: Managing Executive Burnout during the COVID-19 Crisis

Are you feeling exhausted, inadequate and frustrated? You may be one of the many American CEOs suffering from executive burnout.
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For American executives running conglomerates, the risk of burnout can be a challenge in the best of times. But in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many now find themselves feeling overworked and undervalued, all the while battling economic uncertainty and keeping their company afloat. Executive burnout is real, and one of the things American CEOs need to overcome to gain more work-life balance.

According to a Harvard Medical School study of senior managers and C-suite executive, more than half believe the CEO of their organization was burned out while 75% said their senior managers suffered burnout. The study also found the leading cause of burnout was excessive workload. 69% of executives said they were functioning at their maximum capacity.

Executives suffering from burnout generally have these tell-tale signs of burnout:

  1. Exhaustion
  2. Irritability
  3. Apathy
  4. Self-criticism
  5. Cynicism
  6. Detachment
  7. Lost motivation
  8. Sense of failure
  9. Negative outlook

Executives pride themselves on their power of will and determination. What company leaders often neglect is the art of work-life balance. Many American CEOs fail to see is the direct relationship of burnout on their productivity. Working longer hours doesn’t necessarily equate to higher performance.

Executive Burnout among CEOs

According to a Harvard Medical School study of senior managers and C-suite executive, more than half believe the CEO of their organization was burned out.

A research by John Pencavel from Stanford University found that human output nosedives sharply after a 50-year working week and falls even further after 55 hours. This plunge is so deep that an executive who works 70 hours a week often produces nothing more with the extra 15 hours.

How to combat executive burnout

So what can executives do? Well, there are the usual methods of trying to gain better sleep, a consistent wake time, and so forth.

But what do you do when you’re constantly combating executive burnout? Industry Leaders Magazine has curated a list of few healthy habits you can practice in the middle of the exhaustion and apathy.

Prioritize health and wellness

There is an antiquated notion among C-suite executives that there is no place for priorities. In fact, many C-suite executives see it is a badge of honor to work the longest hours. Ask yourself, “Am I prioritizing my health and wellness in this time of extreme stress?”

The first step to combatting executive burnout is to prioritize your own health and wellness. Learn to make good choices that would bring a positive change in your work-life balance. Take time to go out for dinner, do a vacation with family, go to a music concert, or just sit in a comfortable room reading a book or listening to a podcast.

Hire a personal coach

In some cases, executives simply suffer from chronic fatigue. They need motivation in order to move forward and reach their full potential. In such a scenario, executives can hire a leadership coach or a personal life coach. With the help of coaching, executives can learn to recognize their faults, triggers and motivation, and develop leadership traits that make them fit to lead even in times of resilience.

Set realistic goals

Prevent yourself from the dangers of executive burnout by setting realistic goals. Monitor yourself for symptoms of burnout, which can include feelings of chronic fatigue, irritability, and problems focusing on work in ways that are quite atypical.

A few leaders can publicly acknowledge executive burnout as they don’t want to look or sound inadequate. Some end up suffering from crippling health issues. However, a vast majority can make improvements by taking care of their personal needs.

 

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