Professional Burnout Triggers on Executives: How To Combat It?

Burnout greatly affects the company as a whole.

Do you find yourself exhausted at work?

Feel like you’re stuck in a rut and unable to get ahead?

If so, you could be experiencing burnout.  

Executives are especially susceptible to professional burnout because of the high demands of their jobs. If you’re a mid-level executive, you may feel the pressure to meet your boss’s expectations and mentor those who report to you.

There are many causes of burnout. It includes work overload, unfair treatment, poor organisational support, juggling too many things (both at work and home), and more.

If burnout has become an issue, it’s important to look deeper into the causes and whether they can be addressed.  

Take some time to assess objectively what is contributing to burnout. Consider if changes need to be made for you to progress or move on from this situation.

I listed a few things you should think through to know what exactly is contributing to your burnout and attempt to make changes.


Work Overload  

It is widely accepted that burnout results from an imbalance in the individual’s workload and resources. Executives are particularly vulnerable to burnout as they are likely to be pressured by higher-ups or have multiple stakeholders to manage at once.

As such, it is common for executives to feel overwhelmed by the excessive demands on their time, leading to burnout if work overload persists. The ability to effectively manage a demanding workload without compromising performance or creativity is critical for executives to avoid burnout over the long term.

Take an honest look and assess how you’re doing in these five key areas: planning, prioritising, delegating tasks, saying no to extra assignments, and releasing yourself from the need for perfectionism in every task you tackle.

Insufficient Rewards  

The rewards or acknowledgment for your job don’t match the amount of effort and time you put into them. You may be doing your best, but if you don’t see any appreciation, recognition, or compensation for it, then it’s likely that you’ll feel stressed out, exhausted, and frustrated with your job.

If you’re feeling under-appreciated at work, take the time to self-reflect and analyse what specific rewards will make your hard work more rewarding. Consider asking for a raise or promotion, requesting feedback from your boss, or taking advantage of benefits such as compensation time already earned. Experiment with different approaches to identify which opportunities are available to get recognition for your valuable contributions every day.

Lack of Control  

Finding yourself in a position of feeling powerless can be an emotionally draining experience. It’s essential to reflect to regain your sense of control and restore balance.

Take time to evaluate what is causing the feeling of loss of control:

  • Are you being contacted outside business hours which implies there is never time for rest or personal pursuits?
  • Are workplace objectives or priorities constantly changing without sufficient prior knowledge, so you are unable to progress truly?
  • Or could the problem stem from needing more adequate access to people or resources required to complete your job successfully?

Analysing these variables equips you with actionable solutions so that the following steps may bring back feelings of professional stability.

Poor Organisational Support  

Organisational support is an often-overlooked factor in burnout among professionals. Suppose the company or organization fails to provide adequate resources and guidance to their employees or view burnout as normal and acceptable. In that case, burnout can become a regular hazard of the job.

Taking burnout seriously and ensuring that necessary support is provided are important steps in creating a healthy work environment where individuals can thrive professionally. The lack of appropriate organisational backing can quickly lead to employees disengaging from their work and beginning to shoulder more of the burden than is expected of them, resulting in burnout.

Companies must recognise this problem before it damages their workforce and show professional burnout the respect it deserves by offering meaningful support when needed.

Unfair Treatment  

If you’re concerned about unfairness intensifying your burnout, strive to express yourself as the first step. Ask for what you want and mention it if the response appears unfair. Start with a respectful inquiry such as, “Can you help me understand why this isn’t available for our team?”

Or try requesting recognition as an associate contributor or asking for more time and resources like, “I noticed that team A was given extra weeks on their project that we were due. Could additional support be possible for us too?”

By doing so, individuals may become aware of their biases or act on them. Request recognition of your contributions and suggest participating in presentations more often – anything which can lead to an equitable balance.

Mismatch on Values  

It can be easy to forget, but finding a workplace that meshes with your personal values is key for maintaining motivation and avoiding burnout. When considering burnout levels, one must take time to reflect on how significant it is to them personally that their ideals match up with the organisation.

Creating and maintaining boundaries between work and personal responsibilities is essential to minimise burnout. Set healthy limits on your time commitments to help you remember that there are areas of life outside your job which require attention.

For example, taking regular breaks throughout the day and striving for a good work-life balance can be practical steps in avoiding burnout. Once boundaries are in place, it is important to stay committed to them for maximum benefit, even when the pressure mounts.

You think about how important it is for you to align yourself with an organisation’s mission and its core principles – such as integrity or environmental responsibility – to continue doing meaningful work.


Final Thoughts

If you’re experiencing symptoms of burnout, it’s essential to take a step back and assess all areas of your life to see what might be contributing.

While it might be tempting to quit your job, that isn’t always the best solution.

Instead, think through what is causing your burnout, and if there are any changes you can make to improve the situation. If you find yourself in a position where despite your best efforts, nothing has changed, then it may be time to move on.


Jo Attard Watters is the Managing Principal and Founder of PeopleEdge Coaching & Consulting. Jo is a professional, Master’s degree qualified Executive and Career Management Coach, Consultant, Business Adviser, and Academic who works with individuals and organisations to help them “be the best they can be”. With significant experience within both the Corporate and Not For Profit sectors, Jo is passionate about seeing her clients succeed in their areas of interest.  

Contact Jo at for more information.