Burnout prevention at the leadership-level

Gabe Kwakyi
8 min readNov 12, 2022
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Burnout, and the broader umbrella of chronic stress-related afflictions are a modern-day epidemic in the workplace, claiming the lives of 120,000 people per year in the US and causing over $300 billion in costs.

The prevention of this loss of lives and life quality is very possible to avert, yet requires significant awareness and action at the individual, group, and organizational levels.

In support of this goal of reducing the societal damage of stress and burnout, this essay explores burnout prevention recommendations for managers and organizations. These insights stem from my own 10 years of work with organizations including Microsoft, Coinbase, and Walmart, as well as my work as a leadership coach, and also through many conversations with researchers, founders, leaders, and managers such as Thomas Gheysen Da Silva.

I recently had a very insightful conversation with Thomas Gheysen about preventing burnout, and have added Thomas’s insights into how managers and organizational leaders can navigate the topic of burnout with their teams, as quotes throughout this essay.

To begin, as a manager or leader it is important that you firstly educate yourself on burnout.

It’s critical to understand that the majority people will experience a full or partial burnout during their careers. According to a mid-2021 Indeed survey, 52% of respondents had experienced burnout, which was up from an already elevated 43% in the prior year of 2020’s pre-COVID survey.

It’s also important to know that a burnout also not mean that a person has become permanently “damaged goods,” or cannot ever be trusted again as a “burnout risk.” Burnout victims even include famous examples such as Arianna Huffington, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Prince Harry.

Businesses benefit from their employees’ efforts and outputs, and as such share in the responsibility of taking care of their employees’ wellbeing. For managers and leaders, learning how burnout happens, how to spot it, and how to support people through a burnout is key to honoring this responsibility.

While this is a non-fully inclusive list, here are some of the key, externally-recognizable warning signs of burnout that managers and leaders should know about:

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Gabe Kwakyi

A curious mind and a passionate personal development coach, specializing in life, career, and business coaching for people in the technology and business fields