Leadership is generally regarded as a positive trait…
Leaders are important in all aspects of our society as they help to motivate and direct people. Most of the information that you’ll find online about leadership sets a similar tone: that leadership is a positive and desirable trait that one should aspire to.
However, what many of these articles fail to discuss is the darker side of leadership. Being a
leader can be mentally draining and can cause a number of difficulties for those who have taken on a leadership role.
These challenges are often underrepresented. It’s important to be aware of these difficulties so
that you can prepare for a leadership role if you’re planning to take one on.
Awareness is the first step towards sound mental health.
Challenges With Leadership
Being a leader can be tremendously rewarding.
Still, leadership also comes with a number of challenges. Some of these challenges can be tough to cope with, but all of them can be surmounted.
Here are a few examples of leadership challenges and what you can do to manage them.
Leaders are almost always under a great deal of pressure.
Whether these are leaders in the workplace, activists, or leaders in a military campaign, all leaders are generally being put under a huge amount of pressure.
Rather than just being accountable for themselves, they are accountable for all those who look to them for leadership.
They constantly feel pressured to make the right choices and decisions to avoid creating problems for themselves and others.
A leader must always remain motivated.
Should their motivation falter, then the motivation of their entire team will falter.
This can create additional pressure and can also lead to leadership burnout which we’ll discuss in more detail later.
As a leader, it can be very hard to remain humble.
If you become too prideful or gloating with your leadership, then you stand to lose followers or elicit problems among those who you are trying to lead.
Anyone who works hard — whether it’s at the office, as a part of your family, or as someone
building a life — is vulnerable to burnout.
Leaders are no exception to this rule, and in fact, leaders may be even more vulnerable to burnout than others.
Leaders are constantly under pressure and forced to remain motivated even amidst dire
circumstances. This can put constant strain on their adrenaline system which can lead to
Leaders must also remain vigilant and composed even in times of chaos and disorder,
which can take a serious psychological toll.
Signs of Leadership Burnout
Here are a few signs of leadership burnout:
- Having a hard time getting up and going to work.
- Feeling incredibly exhausted and fatigued beyond what would be considered normal for
missing a few hours of sleep.
- Changes in mental health, experiencing frequent changes in mood, irritability, or other
abrupt or difficult feelings that are hard to manage.
Causes of Leadership Burnout
Leadership burnout can result from any sort of experience that one must lead.
However, certain things can aggravate the speed at which one burns out:
- Having an improper schedule, or a schedule that is constantly compromised.
- Not getting enough physical or mental rest.
- Meeting constant resistance when trying to achieve your goals, difficulties with the
people that you’re leading.
- Not taking care of yourself mentally (allowing yourself to ruminate, worry, and overthink).
Best Apps & Tools for Improving Mental Health for Leaders
If you’re struggling with your mental health as a leader, fear not!
There are some apps and tools that can help you bounce back:
- Monday is an app that allows leaders to quickly check out the status of projects and
contact other team members involved. You’ll have easy access to all the available
information and people working on the projects.
- MapMyFitness is an app that helps busy people maintain a good physical exercise
routine. Regular exercise helps to reduce stress and anxiety and can help you stay
- Headspace is an app designed to help bring meditation to everyday people, including
professionals. Meditation is one of the best ways to help you manage your stress levels
so that your leadership role doesn’t get out of hand.
Nobody said leadership was easy and not everyone knows how common and serious leadership burnout can be.
Fortunately, there are a number of apps that can be useful for helping people bounce back after they’ve burned out!