16 Tech Leaders Share Their Tips For Overcoming Burnout

Overcoming Burnout

By: Steve Taplin

November 14, 2021

Burnout Sonatafy Technology

How do we help Team Members with Overcoming Burnout? Great question. Many tech leaders chose their profession because they like solving problems and helping people. In recent months, the whole world has seen tech experts doing just that, as they led the charge in enabling remote work and leveraging technology to help cope with and manage the response to the pandemic. While tech leaders across industries have been putting in long hours lately, the knowledge of the real, measurable good they have been doing can surely help reenergize them.

Overcoming Burnout

But of course, there’s a lot more to being a tech leader than staying focused on the big picture. Dealing with the “every day” of tech leadership—such as managing tickets, requests, customer complaints and prioritizing—can lead to burnout. When tech leaders find themselves falling into a rut or feeling unmotivated, it’s essential to have a strategy to turn the situation around. Below, 16 members of Forbes Technology Council share their tips for overcoming burnout and getting back on track.

1. Celebrate Unplugging

We require and celebrate “unplug” time—and lots of it. We talk about who is taking off every Monday morning and celebrate those people being out. We also talk about how the team is going to cover for them so well that when they come back, things are better than they were when they left. A “Team Before Me” mentality cools burnout in so many ways. – Meagan Bowman, STOPWATCH

2. Remember Your Passion For Your Work

I walk out the door every morning with my dog and take a big, deep breath of freedom. I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to work in information security for so many years; I look at it as a blessing to be able to do that. That’s what drives me—whether I achieve excellence or not is a secondary kind of thing for me. I just want to make sure I do my job. – John Giordani, NCheng LLP

3. Step Back And Look At The Big Picture

These days, business success depends largely on a company’s ability to exploit the digital era. With the multitude of challenges in people’s day-to-day professional settings, I know I have an excellent opportunity to bring a genuinely transformative impact to the business and in the product/service that I am offering to the world. Hence, I make sure I always see the big picture. – Vishal Yadav, MeridianGo

4. Focus On Tomorrow’s Opportunities

When you are in a rut dealing with the “every day” of tech leadership, you are probably being reactive and thinking about today. To get myself out of that situation, I try to focus on “tomorrow” instead of today and look for opportunities to grow and expand my business. – Tim Mitrovich, Artisan

5. Consider Others’ Success Stories

Learning about the success stories of other folks can truly increase your motivation level. Naturally, the awareness of survivorship bias should prevent us from getting too carried away, but exposing ourselves to all the amazing things people are capable of achieving—almost always as a consequence of failures and stepping back—provides a breath of fresh air and puts “the mundane” into perspective. – Pawel Rzeszucinski, CentralNic Group PLC

6. Remind Yourself Of Your Dreams

The one thing I do is remind myself of my dreams. You can always do more, become better and achieve more. The main thing is to remember the fire in your gut and why you got into leadership in the first place. If I evaluate the situation and where I want to be or the impact I want to make, it always brings me back on track. I am big on customer success and helping people. – Brandi Ward, Reagan Family of Companies

7. Eliminate Unneeded Distractions

Eliminate everything that is not adding value to your business. If your KPIs serve no tangible purpose, they become a distraction. If you have to deal with a lot of low-level tasks, leverage automation for everything from processes to writing briefs. Your most valuable asset in every project is your people. So removing the sources of unnecessary noise will help them keep their focus and a high level of collaboration. – Tom Okman, Nord Security

 

Overcoming Burnout with Sonatafy Technology

 

8. Review Positive Customer Feedback

Reading customer case studies and the positive feedback that our services and customer teams collect reminds me of why we do what we do and the real-world impact we have. Sharing the best nuggets with the team raises my spirits and the team’s spirits. When I can’t find something, I call our head of services to ask about a recent success. She appreciates the outreach too, and it helps us work as partners. – Brian Reed, NowSecure Mobile

9. Turn Your Attention To Your Team

Managing all those “keeping the lights on” activities are a necessary part of managing an IT team. When I feel I’m falling into a rut, I like to raise up a level and focus on leading the team. Which staff members need development? What business unit could use some attention? Where are we on the path to meeting our strategic objectives? Where is disruption likely to come from? – Jeffrey Ton, InterVision

10. Double Down On Success Stories

Make sure you look at your customers’ successes. Often, the issues a tech leader deals with are concentrated on problems, bugs, future possibilities—all of these are, by definition, endless. Make a conscious effort to look at the positive things. And maybe try to find out what has led to customer successes and double down on those processes instead of just fighting fires. – Robert Weissgraeber, AX Semantics

11. Exercise Your Empathy

People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. This quote stands true today. It is important to realize that leadership burnout can negatively impact any team. Leaders must understand that being a leader is not an easy task—nor should it be. Thus, having empathy for others and ensuring that you and your team are feeling fulfilled is critical for avoiding burnout and losing valuable members. – Stephen Moore, Exabeam

12. Take A Break To Clear Your Head

I stay focused on the leadership mindset that great leaders know how to solve more challenges than everyone else. There are no problems—only challenges. Sometimes I need to step back and take a break to clear my head. I often will walk my dogs, listen to music or go for a long hike or bike ride. This typically rejuvenates me and helps me come up with solutions. – Steve Taplin, Sonatafy Technology

13. Revisit Your Vision

Burnout can lead to disastrous results for any tech product or company as a whole, regardless of what’s causing it. But one thing I can always rely on to make it better for me is revisiting the vision I had when I built my brand. That always puts things into perspective for me and helps me motivate my team to produce the impactful product they’re capable of creating. – David Gasparyan, Phonexa

14. Recharge Your Battery

We recharge a battery when it runs low. Likewise, when we feel exhausted, we recharge ourselves. How? We unplug ourselves from our office desks and plug into somewhere we can restock our energies, such as heading to the break room for a cup of coffee or outside for a walk. After work, do something interesting, such as golfing, hiking or watching a movie. Taking a weekend getaway is another way to recharge. – Zheng Fan, University of Miami Herbert Business School

15. Brainstorm Ways To Streamline Systems

I set aside 30 minutes to think creatively about ways to better automate or streamline systems that are getting me down. If I can enact the changes myself and they won’t affect anyone but me, I go for it! But sometimes just knowing that I’m working toward shrinking the stuff that’s getting me down feels like the cure to the doldrums. – Jordan Glazier, Wildfire Systems

16. Share And Take In Knowledge

Take an hour every day to read, do research, assist another department or train others. Sharing knowledge helps one learn about oneself and promotes a caring work environment. A change is as good as a rest: Internal cross-training sessions can invigorate a team and also get folks who would normally never work together to assist each other. And finally, break your day into units of work that are focused on different aspects of your job. – Eoin Keary, Edgescan

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Source: 16 Tech Leaders Share Their Tips For Overcoming Burnout

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