Is there a cost to executive burnout?

Burnout is a very real disorder, recognized by health professionals around the world.

As a condition, executive burnout is no joke. Too much work can lead to numerous mental health problems. Many people treat overwork as a badge of honour, or something funny and it can be difficult for your company to take seriously. Overwork can lead to stress, which although we have progressed when it comes to mental health there are still stigmas attached.

executive burnout

Every person is different, so telling them to ‘get over it’ will not solve anything. They may have feelings of worthlessness and require a pick me up. That could be in the form of winning a successful bid or making some money on investment at or However, they need to be wary that any losses at this time could lead to even more stress or frustration.

There is a history of laughing or denying mental health issues. We can even laugh at ourselves. But the first step to many stress-related problems, like executive burnout, is acknowledging there is a problem.

The best way to admit there is a problem is understanding the symptoms of executive burnout:

How to diagnose executive burnout

You should never rely on medical advice online for diagnosis. That is the first thing to say. Always speak to a medical professional, then you can be assessed and be referred for treatment.

Executives tend to be of a certain personality and discussing their mental health will likely be difficult. It is generally more acceptable, these days, to seek a mental health specialist, however, there are still stigmas attached. No one wants to admit that they are mentally ill, especially someone in a high powered position.

The symptoms of executive burnout include:

  • Reduced effectiveness and productivity
  • Cynicism
  • Absenteeism, presenteeism, workaholism
  • Lacking motivation
  • Heightened levels of frustration, negativity
  • Unable to be positive
  • Disengaged
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Possible depression
  • Lack of enthusiasm for life in general

A good way to recognise the symptoms is to ask some questions of the person in question. This way you can help them notice the change in their attitude towards work. Questions to ask include:

  • Are you cynical or critical at work?
  • Do you find it hard to be motivated with normal tasks?
  • Are you increasingly irritable?
  • Do you lack energy at work?
  • Have you started to find it difficult to recognise your own accomplishments?
  • Are you experiencing a change in sleep habits or appetite?

Everyone has these feelings from time to time, work is not always enjoyable. However, feeling this way for a prolonged period of time increases your general stress levels and you need to seek help.

The personal cost of executive burnout

Executive burnout can be a downward spiral of depression. It can lead to personal and professional issues which would take a lot of medical help to fix.

There are numerous articles about how to protect yourself from the dangers of work stress. The problem is so widespread and varied that there are many ways to solve such a personal problem.

To help with executive burnout most guides will tell you to:

  • Reassess life priorities.
  • Spend time with your loved ones.
  • Communicate with trusted friends and family.
  • Take time for yourself.

It may appear that executive burnout is similar to other types of work stress, but as it can happen to employees in key positions your company can lose a lot more money, quickly. Regular mental health checkups should be a priority in your executives. Also, allowing a mental health day on top of your regular holiday allowance can give peace of mind to stressed employees.

Remember that your workers are the reason why your company keeps moving forward. Look after them better than your look after your clients and you will have a successful business.