Madhu Einsiedler

Got Burned? – Explore, Identify and Tackle Burnout (PART TWO)

In part one of my discussion on burnout, we looked at what burnout means in today’s professional environment, and I introduced to you the 12 steps of burnout. Based on this framework I raised questions that opened new opportunities of growth.

In this second part, we will explore the role of you as leader, as it relates to burnout.

As a business and life coach, I do not see burnout only in the context of the excessive demands we face as individuals, but also as the result of the increasing destabilization of  social and organizational factors that until now had always provided security. 


I have used this chart in a recent lecture at the Antwerp Management School, where we explored how a sense of stability can be achieved in an unstable environment,

Use the following questions to explore what you can do, in your role as a leader, in order to add a sense of stability and reduce the risk of burnout for yourself and the ones who feel dependent on you:

  • How can I use my leadership to create and embed stabilizing elements in the organization?
  • How can I use my leadership to reduce the burnout risk for my company and its employees, in spite of increasingly rapid changes and cost pressure?
  • On a scale of 0-10, how’s my inner stability? (10 being rock solid; no sleepless nights)
  • What are (my/our) automatisms for dealing with pressure? Am I familiar with them all? Are they helpful? In which situations are they helpful and in which not? Can I, as a leader, make a conscious choice or does the automatism simply kick in? Do employees have the choice? 
  • What are (my/our) automatisms for dealing with lack of direction? Am I as a leader familiar with them all? Are they helpful? In which situations are they helpful and in which not? Can I make a conscious choice or does the automatism simply kick in? Do employees have the choice?
  • What are (my/our) automatisms when (my/the company’s) identity is attacked? To what do we (me as a leader/we as a company) actually attach identity? What “truths” about the world, leadership, the market, customers and employees do I or we as a company no longer question, because otherwise it would destabilize me/us? Where do I prioritize the stability of (my/the company’s) identity, rather than seeking the best solution for the situation? How quickly do I feel attacked as a leader? What statements make me feel attacked? Is that helpful? 
  • What are (my/our) automatisms for retaining control? What do I do/what processes do we have, to ensure that I/we feel safe, to ensure that I/the company feel(s) in control? In which situations is this helpful and in which not?

As you know, true leadership always starts with self leadership. So let me ask you: How’s your inner stability?

If I am stable within myself, I can ride the wave, but if I try to hang onto the wave or the surfboard, then I get swept away. 

How often do you have sleepless nights because of a bad meeting or quarterly figures that were not met? How badly do you need that extra glass of wine (or beer) in the evening in order to be able to relax? How badly do you have to run, ever further, ever faster, until things finally click into place and your mind stops racing? 

The answers to these questions are not an indication of burnout. Rather, they help us to recognize where we are imprisoned within an automatism that traps us within the feeling of impotence and helplessness or the need for unattainable control – and could thereby bring us close to burnout.

Each of above questions offer a starting point from which to expand the scope of your personal freedom, multiply your behavioral options, and shake off the automatisms that could potentially lead to burnout and that complicate your work-life-balance. Contact me to mulitply your professional and personal behavioral options.

That also applies to your organization. When burnout becomes a recurrent theme in your organization/surrounding, this constitutes a great opportunity to uncover and become aware of non-constructive processes, values, cultural rules and ways of behaving and to create space for something new. Contact me to get your team, your department, your organization fit for these agile times.

The goal is always to expand inner (personal and company) freedom, and to strengthen inner stability, because on the outside the turbulence continues to grow. 

The outside will offer us ever less security and stability.

If you notice that even just one of these questions touches a nerve, maybe uncomfortably, maybe triggering the impulse to avoid or reject that question, take that as a sign that something inside you is ready for a round of personal (and corporate) growth, beyond burnout. 

Get in touch and together we will come up with the answers and find growth for you.

I hope the two parts of this discussion have offered the information necessary to understanding the manifestations of burnout, the ways to address it within yourself, for your team of professionals and even for your social surrounding. 

I invite you to write me with any questions, suggestions or insight.

Want to grow more? Check out the first part of this exploration.