Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile

Leadership burnout is something that can happen to anyone in a leadership position at any time. It’s not something that is only reserved for those working in high-powered corporations; even the smallest of businesses can have managers or owners who suffer from leadership burnout. This is due to being under constant pressure, whether it comes from yourself or someone else, and trying to push through no matter how tired – exhausted – you might be. This will lead to decreased performance, lower quality work, and potentially physical and mental health issues due to these factors and others. 

It makes sense, then, that if you can’t avoid leadership burnout (which is the ideal situation), you do what you can to overcome it when it happens. By having some coping strategies in mind, you can save yourself a lot of problems in terms of your health and your career, and you can generally be a lot happier. If this sounds like something that could work for you, either because you are starting to feel burned out or because you know there is a possibility it could happen, then read on. We’ve put together some useful advice about how to overcome leadership burnout when needed. 

Prioritize Self-Care And Wellbeing 

One of the best ways to combat leadership burnout is to make sure you prioritize your Self-Care and your well-being. When you neglect your own personal needs, and you try to keep going even though you are exhausted, the only thing that will happen is that you will suffer from burnout and have to stop working for a while (potentially a long time) altogether. By taking some time out to focus on Self-Care, you might feel as though you’re ‘wasting time’, but the truth is that when you have recovered from burnout, you can go back to your leadership role feeling more confident, healthier, and with much more productivity. 

To start with, you need to think about your physical health. Make sure you leave time in your day for regular exercise, even if it’s just going for a walk after dinner or following a short online workout video. You should also always take your food seriously and eat a healthy diet. It might be tempted to get a takeaway or some fast food when you’re busy, but by slowing down, cooking healthy food from scratch, and eating it mindfully, you’ll be doing yourself a lot more good and helping to overcome any potential leadership burnout at the same time. 

Self-Care isn’t just about your physical health, of course. It can enable you to relax more and de-stress, which will reduce feelings of burnout. There are so many ways you can do this, and it will depend on what you like to do and what relaxes you. Some people find listening to music helpful, while others like to arrange a spa day. It could be playing sports or reading a book, or creating something. It might be snuggling up on the sofa and binge-watching TV. As long as it helps you, that’s what matters. Make time for this, and burnout will be much less likely, and you’ll still be productive (perhaps even more so). 

Have A Supportive Network 

It can be a challenge to have a difficult job in which you have to work hard and have no one to vent your frustrations to. The reality is that whether you work for yourself or someone else, being a leader is not easy, even if you’re the only one you have to lead. Leadership is all about being there for others as well as coming up with ideas and plans to be followed, and it can feel as though there is never a break. Of course, being a leader is hugely rewarding, and it’s a satisfying job to have, but it is not an easy one, which is why leadership burnout is so problematic and why it’s fairly common, albeit in different forms. 

If you have a supportive network around you to talk to, you can relieve some of your feelings of stress and your potential to be overcome by leadership burnout will get smaller. Ideally, the people you choose to surround yourself with when it comes to finding your network shouldn’t be work colleagues. To begin with, if you are a leader, you will possibly find it hard to connect with those you are meant to be leading on quite such an intimate level, and it might make your job even harder. Secondly, and more importantly, the idea of your support network is that you can use it to de-stress. If these are the same people you are with all day, they could be the ones causing you stress in the first place. Even if they’re not, they’ll be a reminder of your issues. If you can make a support network of other people, perhaps those you enjoy a hobby with, or maybe your friends and family, it will be easier to talk objectively about your problems and disconnect from them. 


If too much is getting on top of you and you are finding it harder to do your work effectively, especially if you are close to leadership burnout or even going through it, you need to reduce your workload. This might sound impossible, particularly because when you’re caught up in your burnout, everything will seem much more pressing and problematic, but the reality is there is always something you can do to help yourself and to have less work to do. 

If you work alone, you could take on a new employee or find partners to outsource to. If you work with others already, take a look at their workload and then at yours; what can you give them to do that won’t make them so busy they could burn out, but that would free up some of your time and make you less stressed? Whatever it is, there are many benefits to delegating in this way. 

To begin with, you’ll overcome burnout more quickly when there is less for you to do and worry about. You’ll find it easier to prioritize your work and ensure you meet important deadlines. Next, you’ll find that delegating can actually help your leadership technique. The workers you give tasks to will feel as though you appreciate them and acknowledge their skills and hard work, and even if they need training to help them do the work well, they will still feel grateful. This will give them better job satisfaction and make them more likely to be loyal to you rather than looking for another job. They’ll also work hard to show you they can do what you asked them to do, meaning that the delegated work will be done to a high standard. Your team will be much more empowered with much more autonomy, and eventually, this means that your job is an easier one to handle, reducing the chances of burnout even more. 

Use Technology To Make Things Easier 

We live in a technologically advanced age, and all this technology is there to make our lives easier. It stands to reason in that case that it would also make our working lives easier, and when it comes to overcoming leadership burnout, using the right technology can be the perfect answer. 

One type of technology you could use is field service management software. This can be used to manage teams working out on-site while you are in an office, for example. In this way, you can be sure that they have everything they need and that you can still manage them even if you are not with them. This will help to reduce your stress and keep everyone working efficiently. 

Something else that will work well is good collaboration software, ideally with video calling technology included or alongside. Again, when you have remote teams, you might find it stressful trying to allocate work or ensure that people are working together as they need to be. With this software, you can be there for your team to answer questions and guide them. You’ll also know that you are taking care of their mental health by giving them the chance to engage with others and not be so isolated, which is an issue that some remote workers have that needs to be addressed. 

Time Management apps can be an excellent investment (and sometimes you can find them for free, depending on what you need them to do, so it’s certainly worth investigating further when it comes to the right app for you. If you feel overwhelmed and at risk of leadership burnout because there just never seems to be enough time in the day, these apps can help you block out time for all the things you have to do. They’ll keep you focused and ensure you take breaks, which is crucial for productivity and reducing the risk of leadership burnout. 

Don’t be afraid of using technology to help you work better and more effectively, and definitely don’t be afraid of using technology to help you maintain good mental health by avoiding or overcoming leadership burnout more effectively. 

Originally Published on

Michael Levitt Chief Burnout Officer

Michael D. Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of The Breakfast Leadership Network, a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout consulting firm. He is a Keynote speaker on The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting and Burnout. He is the host of the Breakfast Leadership show, a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, a Fortune 500 consultant, and author of his latest book BURNOUT PROOF.