7 Warning Signs a Leader is about to Crash

Stressed-man

I’ve been there. I’ve faced burnout and frustration in my work. Thankfully, I’ve never “bottomed out”, but I’ve felt near the bottom in my spirit. More than that, I’ve walked through these times with dozens of other leaders. 

I’ve learned there are some common indicators that a leader is heading towards burnout. The sooner we can recognize them, the sooner we know to reach out for help. 

Here are 7 indicators you’re heading for burnout:

Isolation – When the leader begins to avoid others, something is wrong. Leadership involves people. Not all leaders are overly communicative, but when the leader tries to avoid people who need the leader’s attention, something is wrong. Some leaders begin to question people around them. They struggle with mistrust or fear that others are talking about them, questioning them, or out to get them. 

Excuses – When the leader always has an answer why he or she was late, blame others for everything, or can’t see his or her own shortcomings, they are struggling with something. It may be burnout.  

Hidden sins – Many people hide in their sins, but burnout causes “secret”, deep sins. These are often new vices hidden from people who normally know you. The person who never drank before…is now drinking often. Someone who never struggled with pornorgraphy before suddenly can’t avoid it…and justifies it as a “release”. 

Apathy -When you don’t care anymore. And, you don’t really care that you don’t care anymore. 

Indecisiveness – Paralization…Refusal to make decisions. The person in this condition feels like every decision is a major one. And, there are seem to be so many…they make none. 

Short-tempered – Normally easy-going people often become shorter fused when under extreme pressure. 

Desperation – When every day seems to be a panic day…beware. The leader is in a danger zone. There will be seasons of this in all of our lives, but we can’t live there long. We need periods of calm in our leadership. If the leader always feels this way, something is wrong. 

Granted, all of these may be indicators of other problems, but, in my experience, they are good signs of a potential crash. 

Be careful. If a few of these are you, regardless of how you label it, now is the time to get help. Now.

(After several requests, I’ll share some ideas of where to get help in a future post, but depending on the severity, if you’re seriously about to give up, grab the closest person to you. Be vulnerable.)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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12 thoughts on “7 Warning Signs a Leader is about to Crash

  1. This is a great post. Thank you so much. As a pastor's wife, I've also seen these characteristics express themselves in marriages. I have had women come to me when things seems "off" in their relationship with their husbands; but they can't always put their finger on a specific thing. I've learned to pay attention to things like irritability, apathy, and distancing yourself from others. Our private struggles are not isolated and looking at a person holistically can help us recognize when they need a lifeline. Sometimes before they do. Again thanks so much for this post.

    • That's a great question…need another post, don't I?For now, short answer, counselor, coach, mentor, friends, family, or…if desperate enough…the people you are supposed to be leading.

      • I was there last summer. Reached out to personnel committee for help but prepared to resign. Time of rest, lots of friend help, physical work, spiritual director, books anything I could get my hands on.

        Am better now but know this will be a life long healing experience.