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The State of Leadership Burnout Today [A White Paper]

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Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Does the idea of taking a moment to investigate how you’re feeling at all seem like just one more thing to add to a to-do list that never ends? Do you feel lost in the constant changes we’ve seen in the last few years in the world of work, especially post-pandemic? You’re certainly not alone. 

You might be putting on a brave face for your team, but there’s only so much powering through a person can take before the ramifications trickle down from a “you” issue and pool into a larger performance, cultural, or organizational one.

In this work, we’re seeing many mission-driven leaders on this road to burnout . . . or already there. Because the term burnout is tossed around a lot, let’s take a moment to warm our collective hands around the fire of shared language: the World Health Organization characterizes burnout as “an increased mental distance from one’s job, feelings of energy depletion and negativism, and reduced professional efficacy,” further defining it as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” 

In short, we’re tired. But not the kind of tired that you can recover from over a weekend or with a few extra hours of sleep. Burnout goes far deeper, affecting our cognition and work performance, our relationships, and our physical and mental health. And on top of all that, it’s not uncommon. Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index found that 53% of managers globally reported burnout, a mindblowing figure. Let’s put this in people terms: if you’re sitting around a table with ten colleagues, the odds are that at least five of them are struggling with stress high enough that it’s causing the kind of decreased cognition that accompanies mental fog and physical fatigue. And maybe, if you’re reading this, one of those five is you.

In our most recent white paper, we unpack how we got here and what to do next.

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Sarah Noll Wilson is on a mission to help leaders build and rebuild teams. She aims to empower leaders to understand and honor the beautiful complexity of the humans they serve. Through her work as an Executive Coach, an in-demand Keynote Speaker, Researcher, Contributor to Harvard Business Review, and Bestselling Author of “Don’t Feed the Elephants”, Sarah helps leaders close the gap between what they intend to do and the actual impact they make. She hosts the podcast “Conversations on Conversations”, is certified in Co-Active Coaching and Conversational Intelligence, and is a frequent guest lecturer at universities. In addition to her work with organizations, Sarah is a passionate advocate for mental health.

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