I’ve been there. I’ve faced burnout and frustration in my work. Thankfully, I’ve never “bottomed out,” but I’ve felt near the bottom in my spirit. More than that, I’ve walked through these times with dozens of other leaders.
I’ve learned there are some common indicators that a leader is heading toward burnout. The sooner we can recognize them, the sooner we know to reach out for help.
Here are seven indicators you’re heading for burnout:
1. Isolation. When the leader begins to avoid others, something is wrong. Leadership involves people. Not all leaders are overly communicative, but when the leader tries to avoid people who need the leader’s attention, something is wrong. Some leaders begin to question people around them. They struggle with mistrust or fear that others are talking about them, questioning them or out to get them.
2. Excuses. When the leader always has an answer to why he or she was late, blames others for everything, or can’t see his or her own shortcomings, they are struggling with something. It may be burnout.
3. Hidden sins. Many people hide in their sins, but burnout causes “secret,” deep sins. These are often new vices hidden from people who normally know you. The person who never drank before … is now drinking often. Someone who never struggled with pornorgraphy before suddenly can’t avoid it … and justifies it as a “release.”
4. Apathy. When you don’t care anymore. And, you don’t really care that you don’t care anymore.
5. Indecisiveness. Paralization. Refusal to make decisions. The person in this condition feels like every decision is a major one. And, there are seem to be so many … they make none.
6. Short-tempered. Normally easy-going people often become shorter-fused when under extreme pressure.
7. Desperation. When every day seems to be a panic day … beware. The leader is in a danger zone. There will be seasons of this in all of our lives, but we can’t live there long. We need periods of calm in our leadership. If the leader always feels this way, something is wrong.
Granted, all of these may be indicators of other problems, but, in my experience, they are good signs of a potential crash.
Be careful. If a few of these are you, regardless of how you label it, now is the time to get help. Now.