Manager Burnout Recovery – 3 Insightful Solutions

Being the “boss” does not mean you’re working less — quite the opposite. It brings an increase in responsibility, accountability, and workload, which can be taxing for your mental health if you’re not careful. In fact, manager burnout is quite a common phenomenon in many organisations, since most attention is placed upon preserving employee mental health. But what about leaders and managers? How can they cope with the constantly increasing burnout rates in the workplace?

Avoid micro-managing people

Trying to do everything at once is not sustainable in the longer term. As a manager, you cannot simply scrutinise all employees’ actions at once while also delivering your own work. Unlike other employees, remember that you’re dealing with pressures coming from multiple directions — the higher executives and the people you’re managing. If you look closely, you will see that almost every hour someone will need something for you. But getting trapped into this multitasking hamster wheel does not come without consequences: your concentration will begin to suffer, and you will find yourself more mentally scattered and agitated. In the longer term, these are small but definite steps to burnout. 

To preserve your mental health and prevent or recover from burnout as a manager, get clear about your priorities. What tasks do you definitely want to keep being in charge of and what can you let go of? Which employees can you micro-manage less? In which areas of your work can you relinquish control a little bit more? Some ideas to help you reduce your workload are:

— Reducing the meetings you attend: only go to the most imperative ones and delegate the rest

— Empower your employees to take charge of their own schedules and hold them accountable for how they use their time instead of tracking all their actions 

— Cut down the number of meetings you hold — most likely, your team will thank you for this. 

Find your identity anchor

Many people start losing themselves in a manager role once they attain it. They attach their identities to their responsibilities, sense of control and power, and ability to manage others. Without a doubt, these are things to be proud of. Yet they can also lead managers to neglect who they are outside work: 

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perhaps they start neglecting their ‘friend’ or ‘spouse’ roles. As a result, they start investing less energy and intention into nurturing their roles, connections, and interests outside work. 

Failing to make time for what nourishes us — mentally and emotionally — is a definite road to exhaustion. Many times, managers fall into this trap because they try to do everything and be everywhere — they want to prove they deserve to have the job role they have. They want to demonstrate that they’re good enough for earning that promotion. 

An essential part of burnout prevention and recovery is finding out what makes you happy outside work. What defines who you are, beyond your job title? What did you like to do in the past when you had fewer responsibilities? Your hobbies and interests are markers that help you gain a sense of purpose and give you a sense of belonging in the world. 

Become more intentional about recovery time

One thing is certain: if you don’t make time to look after yourself, no one else will do it. As a manager, your schedule is always full — so it’s pointless and rather optimistic to wait until ‘things slow down’. Instead, make your own time for rest and recovery. Block time a few times a week, or even daily, to disconnect from your work mindset and simply be. You’re the only one responsible for this. 

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