Recognising the Signs of Burnout

In constantly changing times, how do you keep track of yourself and your team in relation to burnout?

In a Deloitte survey, respondents said:

  • 91% say having an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration negatively impacts the quality of their work
  • 64% say they frequently feel stressed or frustrated and
  • 77% had experienced burnout.

The biggest drivers of burnout were:

  • Lack of support or recognition
  • Unrealistic deadlines or expectations
  • Working long hours/weekends

Burnout is a big concern and with more remote working it’s harder to stay on top of your team, how they’re feeling and whether or not they’re taking on too much and nearing burnout.

What are the signs of burnout?

Whilst it’s not always clear when someone is on the verge of burnout, there are some general signs you can look out for. As a leader you can keep in touch with your team and learn to spot these changes so you can support them when needed.

There are some indicative signs to look out for that may give you an indication that someone is in need of support.

A change in normal behaviour

If they’re normally social and interactive and they all of a sudden withdraw, or If they’re normally quite and reserved and they become loud and aggressive.

Changes in how they interact

If they are accepting invites and not turning up, or they’re low in mood/energy, or you see them physically and emotionally withdrawing when normally they’re engaged, alert and involved.

Cynicism or rudeness has crept in

Burnout can be attributed to shortness of temperament and people can become ‘snappy’ or ‘touchy’. If they start making snide remarks, rolling their eyes, putting others down, finding fault in things that others are doing, these can all be signs.


Our emotions can manifest physically, so if someone is constantly ill or taking days off work, these could be symptoms of burnout or inability to want to come to work. Check in with them about how they are and if there is anything you can do to help.

If they have multiple deadlines or tasks on the go, discuss with them delegating, getting support or giving one of those tasks to someone else.

Be aware of their current state and guide them to the realisation that work reallocation is the best thing for everyone. Use chunking up coaching techniques to help do this.


If suddenly their work has mistakes or they show a “don’t care” attitude could be signs of overwhelm or burnout.


If they lose confidence, start doubting themselves or start missing deadlines, check in with them. If this is left unchecked into can creep into their personal lives.

A change in eating habits or increased alcohol intake

If you notice them ‘stress eating’ or they go from healthy to junk food, or if you notice at social events that they’ve started to drink heavily, these can be signs that they’re masking how they’re feeling.

In general, knowing and understanding your team and checking in with them regularly is a good start. Set up weekly, fortnightly, monthly one on ones where you create a regular routine of starting the meetings with a general “how are you going” check-in. Kick of with questions such as: “how are you feeling”, “what’s been happening for you lately”, then move to the work related tasks, key milestones,
deadlines, KPI’s etc.

Understanding if someone is experiencing something challenging or difficult in their home life can impact on them at work. We don’t leave our emotions at home when we come to work, the same as we can’t leave a broken leg at home.

Be aware that what happens in our lives impacts all parts of our lives. If someone is having a difficult time with their partner, kids, parents, other significant others or pets they may need to temporarily adjust their work schedule to accommodate for this event. Be mindful and prepared to support them in their personal lives as much as you do when there is a work deadline looming. Understanding what’s happening for them can help you guide their work and ensure they’re able to cope with what you’re asking of them.

If you notice a change in their ‘normal’ behaviour it’s a good indicator that they may be struggling with something and/or nearing burnout. Have a catch up with them and as “are you OK, what can I do to support you?”.

If you want some help or to chat about how you can engage differently with your team, reach out to me for a chat about how we can work together.

Share with us some of the things that you do with your team to support each other.

About the author

Helen Luxford is a Leadership Coach, Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner.  Helen’s passion is helping  stressed professionals turn overwhelm and uncertainty into calm and confidence in 6 weeks or less.

Helen is an experienced Executive and HR Leader.  Helen combines her corporate experience with her qualifications and skills in coaching, Neurolinguistic Programming and Hypnotherapy to provide tailored programs for her clients. 


Helen is the co-author of Amazon best-selling book, Heart Centred Leadership.


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