Leadership That Burns Bright or Burns Out

Karl Bimshas
5 min readMay 31
Leadership That Burns Bright or Burns Out by Karl Bimshas

You would not be surprised to learn that high workloads, lack of control, insufficient rewards, lack of support, unfairness, and mismatched values and skills commonly lead to burnout. As a leader, you owe it to yourself, your organization, and your team to see if the most significant contributing factor of burnout in your managers is you.

As a leader, your choices can inspire greatness or lead to disastrous consequences. Ensure that your leadership style doesn’t veer into lousy leadership territory. Let’s explore some traits distinguishing a lousy leader from an effective one. Both lousy and effective leaders are going to have an impact. It’s up to you to ensure it’s a positive impact. You can pave the way for success while maintaining respect, integrity, and compassion.

What’s the difference?

Listening and Support

  • Lousy Leader: Fails to listen to managers actively and disregards their needs and concerns. This lack of empathy creates an environment where burnout thrives unchecked.
  • Effective Leader: Actively listens to managers, values their input, and seeks to understand their needs and concerns. This supportive approach fosters trust and cultivates a positive work environment.

Measurement and Awareness

  • Lousy Leader: Neglects to measure burnout levels among managers, perpetuating a cycle of exhaustion, cynicism, and diminished professional accomplishment.
  • Effective Leader: Proactively addresses burnout by utilizing surveys and assessments to identify areas of concern and implement targeted strategies to alleviate burnout.

Meaning and Purpose

  • Lousy Leader: Fails to help managers connect their work with personal meaning and purpose, leading to detachment and decreased engagement.
  • Effective Leader: Encourages open conversations about what energizes managers and fuels motivation and resilience by aligning their roles with personal values and aspirations.

Learning and Growth

  • Lousy Leader: Neglects to provide opportunities for managers to learn, grow, and discuss goals and career development, leaving them feeling stagnant and unfulfilled.
  • Effective Leader: Creates an environment that supports learning and career development and offers new projects and skill development programs. Instills a sense of purpose and growth by fostering open conversations about goals and potential career paths.

Flexible Work Arrangements

  • Lousy Leader: Fails to establish clear team norms and dismisses the importance of flexible work options, leading to a lack of control and heightened exhaustion among managers.
  • Effective Leader: Embraces flexible work arrangements and allows managers to control their schedules. Accommodates individual preferences by setting team norms and expectations while ensuring a harmonious work environment.

Psychological Safety and Support

  • Lousy Leader: Creates an environment where managers feel unsafe to express their concerns, stifling their voices and failing to provide the necessary support for impactful projects and tasks.
  • Effective Leader: Cultivates psychological safety and encourages open dialogue and active listening. Fosters trust, collaboration, and well-being by role-modeling vulnerability and seeking input from the team.

Encouraging Self-care

  • Lousy Leader: Neglects to prioritize self-care, failing to recognize its importance in maintaining personal well-being and setting a positive example for others.
  • Effective Leader: Empowers managers to prioritize their well-being, practice self-care, and set boundaries. Provides resources and training, enables managers to recharge, leads by example, and promotes a culture of well-being.

It is crucial to understand the differences between lousy and effective leadership and pave the way for exceptional leadership that positively impacts yourself, your organization, and your team.

How Does Your Leadership Burn? Self-Assessment

This self-assessment will help you evaluate your leadership approach and its potential impact on your team’s well-being and burnout levels.

Instructions: Read each statement carefully and select the response that best reflects your level of agreement with the leadership behavior and practice. Be honest with yourself to gain valuable insights.

Scoring: 1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Neutral, 4 = Agree, 5 = Strongly Agree

Assessment Statements:

  1. _____ I actively listen to my managers, seeking to understand their needs and concerns.
  2. _____ I regularly assess and measure my managers’ exhaustion, cynicism, and professional accomplishment.
  3. _____ I help my managers connect their work with what matters to them personally.
  4. _____ I provide ample opportunities for my managers to learn, grow, and develop their skills.
  5. _____ I foster transparent discussions about my managers’ goals and potential career paths within the organization.
  6. _____ I support flexible work arrangements that give my managers control over their schedules.
  7. _____ I create a psychologically safe environment where my managers feel comfortable speaking up and sharing their concerns.
  8. _____ I actively seek feedback from my managers and respond constructively to their suggestions and ideas.
  9. _____ I prioritize and encourage self-care practices among my managers.
  10. _____ I consistently listen to my managers, take action based on their feedback, and measure progress toward addressing burnout.
  11. _____ I understand the dimensions of burnout (exhaustion, cynicism, and professional efficacy) and identify specific areas for improvement.
  12. _____ I role model vulnerability, actively invite input from my team and respond productively to the feedback I receive.


  • The maximum score is 60. Scores closer to that number indicate more positive leadership practices that support well-being and reduce burnout among managers. Lower scores suggest potential areas for improvement in your leadership approach.

This self-assessment provides insights and encourages reflection on your leadership style. Use the results to identify areas where you can make positive changes to support your team’s well-being and mitigate burnout.

Special Offer

Level Up Your Leadership: DISC Report + Lyderis. Order a DISC Leadership Assessment and Report and get one-month free membership to Lyderis, the leadership portal from Karl Bimshas Consulting.

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About Karl Bimshas

Karl Bimshas is a Boston-bred, California-chilled Leadership Consultant and Writer. As the founder of Karl Bimshas Consulting, he provides customized leadership development resources and accountability partnering to busy professionals who want to manage better and lead well.

Karl Bimshas

Boston-bred and California-chilled Leadership Adviser | Writer | Podcast Host who helps busy professionals who want to manage better and lead well.

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