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Zack Nichols
Zack Nichols

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With the constant emphasis on self-sacrifice in a leadership position, I thought I would touch on an important counter-balance: self-care. Ultimately it comes down to healthy relationships with many parallels in our personal lives, and leaders are not exempt!

If I am an introvert and I'm friends with a strong extrovert, I will need a break from spending time with them to recharge. If I have a similar relationship to my role at a company and end up drained after some time in that role, I will need a break. Unfortunately that's not how employment works in most cases (beyond vacation that is). I can't just take a break, so my position needs to be emotionally sustainable. I need opportunities to sufficiently refill my emotional bucket throughout the day/week/month/year. Without those opportunities, I will burn out very quickly.

I've always been great at maintaining a solid work-life balance. I've also been fortunate enough to have good leadership for the majority of my career that have been very fair and people-focused. However, what happens if I encounter a more bottom-line-focused manager that cares more about output than the human beings on my team? That would be a very draining factor (similar to the extrovert friend) in my relationship with my position.

Ultimately it doesn't matter what the draining factor is, if my position (management or otherwise) is causing any drain without enough opportunity to recover and the signs of burnout start to manifest, I need to create a change in that relationship. What that means can vary based on the situation, but it could be a one-on-one conversation if I felt it was realistic to create change that way, or it could be a lateral move, promotion/demotion, or new job.

We don't want to spiral down into an emotional place that causes us to be short-tempered with those we care about (or anyone really). Making that change often only becomes more and more necessary, so if the signs of emotional drain start showing, it's time to evaluate the situation and commit to a healthier path forward. Pay attention and take care of yourself, because in the end that's what is in our power, and everyone (especially family and teammates) will benefit!

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