Social Support As A Burnout Mitigator

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Thriving in your role as a leader when disruption and change is standard issue makes for an exhausting and lonely experience. Leaders need exceptional supportive relationships to ensure they are capable to lead businesses and people.

Consider the relationships in your life – family, friends, co-workers, peers, mentors, coaches and other. Write out their names and next to each name give it one of the following three categories:

1.) Transactional: A transactional relationship is economic in nature. I will do this for you if you do this for me. It requires very little emotional involvement.

2.) Service: This type of relationship emphasizes you giving to them without anything provided in return. This includes stakeholders, constituents and clients most commonly.

3.) Supportive: A relationship that is mutual leads to regeneration and fueling emotional reserves. Grounded in trust and commitment, leaders that indicate strong supportive relationships will more likely thrive in their roles. Decision making is enhanced when strong relationships are evident in the lives of leaders.

We often find leaders adding complexity to relationships with direct reports by becoming friends. This can work and it also adds complexity to the relationship. Imagine having to ‘fire’ your friend or family member or having to give feedback to this friend. Consider leveraging wisdom and discernment when transitioning a relationship that is focused on service to one that is mutually supportive. You may find the tradeoff to be too high and the risk too great for this to be optimal.

Consider this brief assessment to determine the type of support you are receiving or your direct reports are receiving –

a.) How willing are people in your network or social structure willing to listen to your work-related problems?

b.) How willing are your “friends” willing to listen to your personal problems?

c.) How easy is it to talk to are your peers?

d.) Describe the people you turn to for support when leadership gets hard at work.

Leaders as you look at your relationship matrix, what stands out? Where are you in balance and where are you out of balance? What changes do you need to make to ensure you have enough supportive relationships to ensure you can sustain yourself through the daily trials of your role?