Taking control: how leaders can recalibrate and make good career decisions

Feelings of burnout are common this time of year. But rather than making any rash decisions, think about how you can recalibrate and take control.

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Coming up to the end of the year can be a stressful time. There’s often a slew of deadlines and work to be completed, and a rush of networking and social events on top of it all.

Then, suddenly, you stop for the year-end break that many of us have in the healthcare and life-sciences sector. And that’s when the feeling of exhaustion can really start to hit home.

The impact of burnout

There’s plenty of discussion about employee burnout and its effects on productivity and satisfaction. It’s something that impacts all levels within an organisation – a survey conducted by Deloitte last year found  nearly 70% of the C-suite are seriously considering quitting for a job that better supports their well-being.

For leaders in particular, burnout not only impacts them, but those around them and the tone of the entire organisation. It impacts the way you communicate, make decisions, handle stress and deal with your team – just to name a few. In effect, your burnout can then extend to others, which can lead to phenomena such as ‘quiet quitting’, which according to Gallup impacts around two-thirds of employees.

However, quitting – quiet or otherwise – due to burnout is not a good idea. Yes, leaving your job might be the solution, but make sure it’s the right one. Sometimes, it might be that you’re not done with the company, you’re just feeling burnt out. It’s no time to make rash decisions, nor leave just for the sake of leaving. As we’ve written before, career transitions are a process that needs to be carefully managed, rather than rushed.

So, instead, think about how to use the year-end to your advantage. A lot of that is making the most of the time to rest, refresh, rejuvenate. However, there’s more that you can do as well as relax. It’s also about using that more detached mindset that comes after a break to make a less emotional evaluation of your current position.

And from here, make a conscious effort to recalibrate and take control in order to create the type of leader you want to be.

Changing your current environment

Once you’ve had a chance to recalibrate, it’s time to make changes. Staying where you are and addressing the root causes of burnout is very possible, but it’s up to you to make it happen by changing your ways of working. This involves a wholistic approach, and thinking about how you can create change rather than blaming the company, or your manager.

It’s about deciding what your priorities are and then thinking about how you can make changes. And talking to your manager about implementing these changes.

Remember, change does not have to be all at once – often, it’s about small, incremental changes that can make a big difference to your life overall. For example, do you have to start and leave at a certain time? Could you start later to go to the gym, or finish earlier to pick up the kids from school? What else can you do to make the balance right?

As a leader, you should be able to dictate the terms of your work, such as not scheduling meetings at 8am if that doesn’t work for you. You must be able to challenge the way you’ve always done things, and really consider whether you can make it work in a way that’s better.

This attitude empowers you as a leader to make the kind of working environment you want. It’s a lot better than the alternative, which can involve becoming defensive or disillusioned with your job and the people around you.

So, before you take any drastic action, ask yourself whether your decisions might be impacted by burnout. If the answer is yes, or even maybe, then it’s time to recuperate, think about your next move and make changes for the better.


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Hunton Executive offers Executive Coaching and Leadership Development services. Contact us for more information.


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