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The Threat of Leader and Burnout: A Deeper Look after Blue Monday.

Updated: Feb 5

Burnout is a growing concern affecting leaders and employees in various industries. Burnout is a state of chronic physical and psychological exhaustion, while it’s a year-round challenge, Blue Monday and the month of January are often considered the hardest and most reflective period.


This article aims to shed light on the causes and consequences of burnout, introduce a personal burnout indicator by The BluePrint Toolset®, and offer insights into addressing this issue. Join us as we explore how burnout affects leaders and employees.


Burnout is not simply feeling tired after a long day at work; it results from sustained exposure to stress, excessive workload, and a lack of support network. Leaders, managing organisational change and making critical decisions, are particularly susceptible to burnout. However, burnout can impact employees at all levels.


As we come to the end of Blue Monday week, the supposed saddest day of the year which falls on the third Monday in January. While its scientific validity may be debated, it serves as a reminder to address the burnout epidemic within organisations.


Nationally we are seeing an increase in sick days and long-term sickness.

  • 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace (14.7%).

  • Women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full-time employed men (19.8% vs 10.9%).

  • Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.

  • The sickness absence rate - the percentage of working hours lost because of sickness or injury rose to 2.6% in 2022, the highest it has been since 2004 when it was 2.7%.

  • In 2022, there were around 2.3 million people on long-term sick leave in the United Kingdom, of which 313,000 were on sick leave due to mental health conditions, and 282,000 due to depression, bad nerves, or anxiety.


Possible Causes of Burnout:

Leaders and employees experience burnout due to several factors, including:

-          Excessive workload.

-          Lack of control or job role clarity.

-          Insufficient support or support network.

-          Work-life imbalance or lack of work boundaries.

-          Organisational culture and change.


Possible Consequences of Burnout:

The consequences of burnout affect individuals and organisations, including:

-          Decreased productivity and creativity.

-          Sickness and long-term mental health issues.

-          High turnover.

-          Negative team dynamics.


Recent research by Oxford University emphasises that individual employee well-being initiatives alone have a limited impact on work conditions and work-based stress. Therefore, organisations must focus on systemic changes and cultural improvements to effectively address burnout. We can reduce the risk of burnout and high turnover by prioritising organisational change, flexible working arrangements, role clarity, job security, and workplace culture.


We can gain personal insight into the possible risk of burnout with The BluePrint Toolset® burnout indicator. This personal tool helps individuals understand triggers and in turn understand how they can mitigate burnout. The burnout indicator by The BluePrint Toolset® is a short online self-assessment. The report will be sent directly to you and to the consult for you to explore and understand your burnout indicators.


In conclusion, addressing leader and employee burnout is vital for maintaining a healthy and productive work environment. Blue Monday serves as a reminder to address these concerns and reflect on our place of work. By prioritising organisational change, flexible working arrangements, role clarity, job security, and a positive workplace culture, we can create a supportive environment that mitigates burnout. Leaders play a crucial role in driving organisational change and should take proactive steps to address burnout at all levels, including their burnout indicators. We should consider the Oxford University research, which highlights the limited impact of individual well-being initiatives, and understand they still have an important role in employee benefits, organisational CSR, and community positioning.


By taking a holistic approach, we can foster a healthier work environment and support the overall well-being of leaders and employees. Join us in taking proactive steps towards combating burnout and fostering well-being in the workplace.


Zoe Huggins

22nd January 2024



Published by D. Clark (Nov 2023) Number of people on long-term sickness work leave in the UK 2022, by health condition. Retrieved from UK long-term sickness figures by condition 2022 | Statista

Mental Health Foundation. Retrieved from Mental health at work: statistics | Mental Health Foundation

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