Burnout: A Failure of Leadership
When we talk about leadership, we traditionally speak in terms of Modeling the Way or Inspiring a Shared Vision. We may also talk about enabling our people to act, or about generating engaged employees who have assimilated the vision and values of the business into their everyday working lives.
In other words, our focus is very much on the relationship between the business and its people. But, should we be doing more? Should we, in fact, be taking a more holistic view which not only helps people to be engaged with the business but also boosts their personal engagement with their lives outside of work?
It’s a question that has come to the fore thanks to a report recently published by Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a UK-based nonprofit that leads the way in providing childcare and early education resources for employers, family networks, and others. The Modern Families Index 2017 looks at modern families across the U.K. and the interaction between work and home life. Gathering responses from 2,750 working parents, the report highlights the way in which family life is under pressure from work commitments with 72% of parents admitting to catching up on work either in the evenings or weekends. This, together with the fact that only a third of parents responded that they leave work on time each day, leads to regular conflicts between work and family life as well as a raising of stress and burnout levels.
Although this particular report provides a snapshot into the lives of working families specifically in the U.K., the stresses and conflicts it identifies—the impact of time-poverty, balancing of the twin currencies of time and money, the ‘flexibility gap’—are true for workers everywhere. And the implications for leaders around the globe are equally as relevant.
True leadership means that our responsibility shouldn’t begin and end at the office door. If we really want people to be at their best and give of their best, then it is up to us, as leaders, to create the right conditions that enable people to thrive throughout their lives, not just between nine and five.
Helen Green is head of Business Development at Quest Leadership, a Global Training Partner of The Leadership Challenge and a consultancy that works with corporate and charitable clients in the UK, Europe, and South Africa using The Leadership Challenge and the Leadership Practices Inventory® to deliver outstanding business results, implement strategic change, and embed values-based cultures. She can be reached at Helen@questleadership.co.uk.
Bright Horizons, named to the Fortune list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, operates more than 900 nurseries in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, India, Canada, and the U.S., serving more than 1,000 clients in retail to manufacturing, hospitals to universities. Learn more at https://www.brighthorizons.co.uk/solutionsatwork.