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What Happens When Leaders Burnout? Nine Ways to Counter Leadership Burnout

Written by: Vineet Arora, Barbara Overholser, Nancy D. Spector
Published on: Jan 25, 2023

doctor burnout
Photo credit: joyfotoliakid/Adobe Stock

As we enter the third year of COVID-19, the burnout of our healthcare workforce is understandably at the forefront of everyone's minds. But in addition to the severe strain on the healthcare workers on the ground, it is worth discussing the impact on those who have been leading the COVID response and others in leadership positions during the pandemic.

How prevalent is leadership burnout? A 2021 survey of more than 15,000 business organizational leaders found that “Leadership energy has taken a nosedive. Sixty percent of leaders now indicate that they feel ‘used up’ at the end of every workday, a strong indicator of burnout.”

Where does this burnout stem from? COVID-related causes are numerous. The constant state of command-and-control leadership as opposed to the forward/growth thinking; business continuity approach is simply exhausting. The stress that resulted from leading through uncertainty and through the quickly changing directives that were a hallmark at the onset of the pandemic has added to the burnout. Many leaders also feel that they were not able to pivot effectively in the face of the pandemic, a direct hit on what is considered one of the basic tenets of strong leadership—being prepared for change.

In addition, many leaders believe that they are not effective at leading virtually.

Read the full report.