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Psychoanalytic Business Coaching

Develop leadership skills and avoid burnout

Many years of experience in leadership coaching show that a challenging topic for many young leaders is dealing with their own limits. Many leaders enter coaching with the experience that the surge of demands, coupled with their own high ideals and expectations, has brought them into the range of initial burn-out symptoms. We give a little insight into how you get back into action from reacting.

Most Leaders describe the point at which intrinsic motivation and enthusiasm, which was usually still at the forefront at the beginning of the new challenge, changed into a feeling of being overwhelmed, the moment when working no longer felt like they were acting proactively, but driven by tasks, more reacting and repairing. They then attribute their feeling of powerlessness to the high tide of demands, unmanageable conditions, and ultimately the demands of the next level of leadership. Most leaders are also aware of their personal perfectionism and ambition. Nevertheless, the direct sensing of one’s own performance and feasibility limits makes most of them feel diffuse discomfort, even anxiety. Inner tensions are then usually overcome with increased effort and high work input, but contribute in large part to actual burn-out decompensation.

The interesting point is the turning point, where rethinking and restructuring would be possible. Because: In the vast majority of cases, limits do not mean failure to achieve career goals. And it’s not even a matter of “it’s okay” not to be able to do more, or “that it’s like that for everyone” in the sense of a collective regret about limits. The turning point means much more: take a closer look at the point at which you can’t do it anymore. Ask yourself: What opportunity lies in your experience of that limit. If you can no longer cope with the demands, then probably others can’t either and something is structurally wrong. It is important, however, not to play victim and get stuck in a powerlessness attitude. Such understanding is a possibility and opportunity for change:

The solution that needs to be developed can be broadly thought and widely stretched. You have the most insight and are the most involved; you are the appropriate person to assess the problem and find alternatives. These are usually organizational or structural changes. And sure, you don’t always have the possibilities and decision-making power to implement these solutions. But a commitment to these changes in the sense of changing the corporate culture is much more proactive than backward-looking regrets of the impossible.

Assuming that your overburdening and your experience of limits is a healthy and thus system-immanent reaction and assuming that a company runs best with intrinsically motivated and thus creative and innovative employees, ask yourself: What needs to be changed? The structures? Working areas of the people? The requirements? Values and orientation of the company?

Experienced leaders do not take limits and overload as a “fault”, but as an indication. A potential for change. They experience themselves as a resonance body of the system. They can distinguish where their own personality and potentially unstable or fragile parts of themselves play a role in overstraining experiences and where there is a need for change in the company. Understanding these two dynamics is complex and sometimes requires support. With sufficient self-empowerment, however, such a change in thinking is a gain for the entire company.


Andrea Wurst, Coach

If you have questions,  contact us, we are happy to support you.