Leader loneliness causes managers to burn out

Did you know loneliness is one of the most common triggers for leader fatigue and burnout? It happens because leaders are responsible for managing crises, making tough – often unpopular – decisions and taking on the burden of ‘toxic emotion buffering’ in teams. Plus, they must maintain confidentiality and preserve morale. All of which means leaders often face tough situations alone. This is not something we talk about widely. But it is time bosses started to speak up assertively about leader loneliness.

Sign 1: the go-it-alone attitude

Believing you can handle everything by yourself puts too much weight on your shoulders. It leads to a double whammy of overwork and low resilience. Both of which are key contributors to burnout. Remember that when you’re surrounded by people you trust,  everything becomes easier. Even leadership!

Sign 2: excessive self-criticism

Also known as beating yourself up.  If you don’t have trusted advisors around to provide authentic feedback, your inner critic can easily go feral. Now you’re an experienced leader. You know that negative self-talk lowers your confidence. It also decreases motivation and triggers feelings of hopelessness. And hopelessness and burnout go together like chocolate sprinkles and ice cream. And let’s face it, you eat a lot more of that combination when you’re burned out.  That’s why comfort eating is sign 2B.


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Sign 3: reluctance to seek help

This happens when leaders believe asking for help is a sign of weakness. But not having support  reinforces your isolation. Leaders with high levels of mental stamina have support systems. They surround themselves with trusted advisors and peers. The tougher things get, the more they reach out.

If you’re struggling with any of these signs, it’s important to reach out for support. You don’t have to face these challenges alone!  Find a coach or mentor you trust and stop going it alone. Having a trusted advisor to talk to can make all the difference. You are someone who can make a difference.  Don’t let leader loneliness stop you!

This article was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer and success coach. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference.  Since discovering her passion for training and development, Eleanor has trained more than 60,000 people. She delivers face-to-face workshops for corporates, online masterclasses for leaders and Positive Psychology retreats for trainers, HR practitioners and leaders.