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Burnout at the top: why we must focus on the CEO experience

0 2 years ago

With many workers worn out by the events of the past two years, the Great Resignation is leaving many companies and organizations so understaffed it is disrupting their operations. But another silent epidemic is looming, and few are paying attention: CEO burnout.

Many leaders have summoned all their reserves these past two years to keep their teams aligned and energized during the global reckoning and opportunity for reflection on the pandemic brought. Now, as leaders, they are navigating the impact of a new variant, the transition back to the office, worker shortages, supply chain disruptions, and in some cases, heated debate among their teams over vaccine mandates. At the same time, they must keep their workplace cultures and offerings to customers relevant. Many are doing so while managing more fluid, distributed workforces that include both traditional employees and gig workers, in workplaces that are evolving to become more flexible and more responsive to employees’ desire for connectedness, inclusion and belonging. They must also stay on top of tools to improve organizational efficiency while keeping a finger on the pulse of employee happiness.

CEOs’ top concerns for 2022 are supply chain issues, inflation and a global labor shortage, according to the YPO Global Pulse: Business Outlook for 2022 survey. And though many leaders are tackling these challenges as their companies experience a recovery, nearly one-fifth do not have a favorable economic outlook for the year ahead.

The unsung struggle

Leading under conditions like these can be a lonely enterprise – and leaders need the same sort of support and rejuvenation employees do. Only one in five leaders have a strong sense of their own purpose, according to YPO, a global leadership community of extraordinary chief executives. Its research revealed that stress and exhaustion were depleting many leaders’ creativity. But who can they turn to for help? Other chief executives to start.

In working with The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, YPO is on a journey to transform both its member and employee experiences, and provide the leaders who belong to YPO with the support, infrastructure, and meaningful connection they need to be successful in today’s environment. As YPO undergoes this transformation, leaders who belong to YPO will have the opportunity to experience it firsthand, and in turn apply the Ritz-Carlton’s customer experience and employee engagement principles in their own businesses as they strive to retain talent and fill open positions amidst a global labour shortage.

“What this pandemic has taught leaders is that uncertain and challenging times can bring new opportunities and innovations.”

With no “Pandemic Playbook” in the back pocket of CEOs today and mounting pressure for CEOs to lead internal and external stakeholders on a magnified level with rising friction on both fronts, authentic, connected company culture is the eating strategy for breakfast (lunch and dinner). People at all levels in the organization are craving human connection more than ever before. YPO provides its CEO members with healthy peer-to-peer engagement through a network of leaders, who not only can relate to those feelings only a CEO experiences but can also empathize with them and learn from them.


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