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12 Signs of Leadership Fatigue

Signs That You Are Tired as a Leader

In the last blog, we talked about COVID and how “the last 24 months have…” – and I shared several different ways that you all have completed that sentence. But the most predominant way that phrase was completed was with the words tired or exhausting. 

And it sure has been that.

Of course, as a leader, this idea of being tired has always existed. In fact, it’s referred to as leadership fatigue. But the last 24 months have compounded it and really made it a prevalent problem for leaders.

But what are the signs of leadership fatigue? Just like the responses to how the last 24 months have left you feeling were wide and varied, so are the 12 signs of leadership fatigue. 

You Are Tired of Making Decisions

Leaders have to make a lot of decisions. It can be exhausting. If you find yourself dreading having to make another decision, it’s certainly a sign. After all, you know that as a leader, decisions are part of the job. But COVID has brought soooooo many more decisions – and that has been tiring.

You Feel Isolated

When you are a leader, you can often feel isolated. You may feel like you are the only one who can really understand the challenges and stresses that come with the job. This isolation can lead to fatigue. If you feel isolated, it is important to reach out to your network of other leaders for support.

Little Things Snowball Into Big Things

Leadership fatigue can cause small things to snowball into big problems. For example, you may find that you are getting angry over little things that wouldn’t have bothered you before. If this happens, it may be time to step back and assess where you’re at and why this is happening.

You Are Not Taking Care of Yourself

When you are tired, it is essential to take care of yourself. This means getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising. If you are not taking care of yourself, it will only make the problem of leadership fatigue worse. (As you all know, I’m a big believer in Pilates! It’s been my go-to these last 24 months! But you need to find what works for you when it comes to taking care of yourself.)

Even during stressful times you need to take time out for yourself.

A simple Deep Breath can relax you and change your mood.

You Are Only Looking at Immediate Needs

If you are only focused on the immediate needs, it means that you are not thinking about the future. This can lead to bad decision making and can cause you to miss important opportunities. Leaders need to be able to think long-term.

Your Personality Has Changed

If you find that your personality has changed, it may be a sign of leadership fatigue. You may be more irritable than usual, or you may find yourself withdrawing from social activities. These changes in personality can be a result of the stress of leadership. 

Your Passion is Waning

Another sign of leadership fatigue is if your passion for the work is waning. If you are no longer as passionate about the work you are doing, it may be a sign that you need a break. When you love what you do, it is easier to keep going even when you are tired. But when your passion starts to dwindle, it can be a sign that you change or help is needed.

You Find People Draining

When you are tired, social interactions can be harder – at work and at home. If you find yourself dreading being around people, it may be a sign that you need some time to recharge.

You Feel Like You Are Failing

If you feel like you are failing as a leader, it is a sure sign of leadership fatigue. When you are tired, it is easy to feel like everything is falling apart. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and can make it hard to keep going. 

You Are Just Surviving

If you are just surviving, it is a sign that you are tired as a leader. You are not thriving. You are not enjoying the work that you are doing. You may feel like you are just going through the motions and not really living. This is 100% a sign of leadership fatigue.

Sleep/Vacation Isn’t Enough to Rejuvenate You

If you find that sleep and vacations are not enough to rejuvenate you, it may be a sign of leadership fatigue. 

You've lost your confidence

This is my area of expertise. If you’ve lost your confidence, it’s a sign that leadership fatigue has set in. When we’re tired, we often doubt ourselves and our abilities. This can lead to a loss of confidence and can make it hard to keep going. If you find yourself doubting yourself, it’s important to take a step back and assess whether or not you are suffering from leadership fatigue – and then take the steps to get your confidence back! (Which is what we’ll be talking about in the next blog!)

If you are suffering from leadership fatigue, you’re not alone. It can come and go – but COVID has definitely seen it become more of a problem. 

It’s crucial that you understand the signs of being tired as a leader – and work to overcome them – whether that be by reaching out to your network, talking with a colleague or mentor, or addressing the specific signs that you’re facing. Please know that I’m here to support you and that you can ALWAYS reach out to me via email or DM.

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