What is manager burnout: Symptoms, causes and top strategies to battle it in 2024

15 min read
What is manager burnout: Symptoms, causes and top strategies to battle it in 2024
What is manager burnout: Symptoms, causes and top strategies to battle it in 2024

While burnout can affect anyone, middle managers are particularly susceptible due to the complex and demanding nature of their roles.

By understanding the symptoms and causes of manager burnout and implementing these effective strategies, individuals and organizations can create healthier, more sustainable work environments where managers can thrive.

Remember, addressing burnout is an ongoing process that requires individual effort, supportive management practices, and a commitment to well-being at all levels.

Why being a manager is so exhausting?

Manager is being stressed in the workplace
Why being a manager is so exhausting?

Being a manager is an inherently demanding role characterized by a multitude of factors that contribute to its exhausting nature.

One primary source of fatigue that most managers strongly agree on is the weight of responsibility and accountability placed on managers. They bear the burden of ensuring their team's performance, meeting organizational goals, resolving issues efficiently, and balancing.

Decision-making, a critical aspect of management, adds to the strain as managers navigate choices that significantly impact their team and the overall success of the organization, fostering a constant sense of pressure and fear of making mistakes.

People management further compounds the challenges, requiring managers to navigate diverse personalities, skill sets, and work styles within their team. The delicate balance of motivating individual contributors, providing mentorship, and resolving conflicts demands substantial emotional and mental energy.

Communication, a cornerstone of effective management, requires constant attention to prevent misunderstandings and maintain a cohesive team.

Managers must also contend with pressure from both upper management and team members, striving to meet organizational goals while addressing the concerns and expectations of those they supervise.

Additionally, the ever-changing nature of the business environment necessitates adaptability, adding another layer of complexity. The workload, conflict resolution, and the lack of control over external factors further contribute to the taxing nature of the managerial role.

Despite these challenges, developing effective management skills and cultivating a supportive work environment can help alleviate some of the inherent exhaustion associated with the position.

What is manager burnout?

Manager feeling down in the workplace
What is manager burnout?

Manager burnout refers to a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion experienced by individuals in managerial roles. It is a consequence of prolonged and excessive stress, often resulting from the demanding nature of managerial responsibilities.

The persistent pressure to meet organizational goals, make critical decisions, handle interpersonal dynamics within the team, and navigate the challenges of the business environment can contribute to burnout. It includes:

  • Physical exhaustion: Managers experiencing burnout and managers often feel physically drained. The demands of the role, long working hours, and the need to juggle multiple competing priorities contribute to fatigue and can manifest in physical symptoms like headaches, insomnia, or other stress-related health issues.
  • Emotional exhaustion: Burnout is characterized by a sense of emotional depletion. Managers may feel overwhelmed, detached, and emotionally exhausted, leading to reduced empathy and enthusiasm for their work.
  • Reduced performance: As burnout progresses, managers may find it increasingly challenging to maintain their usual level of performance. Decision-making may become impaired, and the ability to handle stressors diminishes, potentially leading to mistakes and decreased productivity.
  • Cynicism and detachment: Burnout often results in a negative outlook towards work and colleagues. Managers may become cynical, detached, or develop a sense of hopelessness about their ability to make a meaningful impact.
  • Reduced personal accomplishment: Managers experiencing burnout may perceive a diminished sense of accomplishment in their professional achievements. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and a decline in self-esteem.

What are manager burnout symptoms?

Manager is being over burdened with work
What are manager burnout symptoms?

Manager burnout is characterized by a range of physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. It's important to recognize these signs early on to address the issue and prevent further deterioration of mental and physical well-being. Common manager burnout symptoms include:

  • Physical fatigue: Managers experiencing burnout often report persistent physical exhaustion, even after adequate rest. This can manifest as chronic workplace stress, low energy levels, and a feeling of being constantly drained.
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restless nights is a common symptom of burnout. Sleep disturbances contribute to the overall sense of exhaustion.
  • Cognitive impairments: Burnout can impact cognitive functions, leading to difficulties in concentration, memory lapses, and reduced ability to make decisions. Managers may find it challenging to stay focused on tasks and may experience mental fog.
  • Emotional exhaustion: Managers may feel emotionally drained, detached, or numb. They may lose interest in their work, experience a lack of enthusiasm, and find it difficult to connect with their team or the organization's goals.
  • Increased irritability: Burnout can lead to heightened levels of irritability, impatience, and frustration. Managers may react more negatively to challenges or conflicts, impacting their relationships with colleagues and team members.
  • Cynicism and negativity: Developing a cynical or negative outlook towards work, colleagues, or the organization is a common symptom. Managers may express feelings of disillusionment or dissatisfaction with their roles.

What causes burnout for managers?

Manager is working in multiple things at a same time
What causes burnout for managers?

Managerial burnout can result from a combination of factors, often stemming from the challenging and demanding nature of the managerial role. Here are some common causes and signs of burnout for managers that even the World Health Organization considers a problem:

1. Excessive workload

An average Manager's workweek often has heavy workloads, tight deadlines, and multiple responsibilities. The constant pressure to meet organizational goals and expectations can lead to burnout, especially when coupled with long working hours and managing escalating demands.

2. High levels of responsibility

Managers bear significant responsibility for the success of their teams and the achievement of organizational objectives. The weight of decision-making and accountability can be emotionally and mentally taxing.

3. Lack of control

Managers may experience burnout when they feel a lack of professional efficacy and external factors that impact their team's performance. Situations beyond their control, such as economic fluctuations or organizational changes, can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, frustration, and chronic stress.

4. Poor work-life balance

Difficulty in maintaining a healthy work-life balance can contribute to burnout. Managers who consistently work long hours, bring work home, or struggle to disconnect during non-working hours are more susceptible to burnout.

5. Unclear expectations

Ambiguous or constantly changing expectations from upper management can create stress for managers. When expectations are unclear or unrealistic, managers may feel overwhelmed and find it challenging to meet the demands placed upon them, especially when they have potentially fewer resources.

6. Interpersonal conflicts

Navigating conflicts within teams or with colleagues can drain a manager's energy and contribute to burnout. Resolving disputes, managing difficult personalities, and mediating disagreements can be emotionally taxing and time-consuming.

7. Lack of recognition and appreciation

When managers feel undervalued or unrecognized for their efforts, it can lead to feelings of resentment and disillusionment. A lack of appreciation from higher-ups or team members can diminish morale and motivation, increasing the risk of burnout over time.

Why should you care about manager burnout: What could it lead to?

Caring about manager burnout is crucial because it has profound implications for both individuals and the organization. When managers experience burnout, the consequences extend beyond their personal well-being to impact team dynamics, productivity, and overall organizational success.

Burnout can lead to a decline in managerial performance, characterized by impaired decision-making, decreased productivity, and an inability to effectively lead and motivate teams. This, in turn, can negatively affect the quality of work produced and hinder the achievement of organizational goals.

Moreover, manager burnout can contribute to a toxic work culture. When leaders are overwhelmed and disengaged, it sets a precedent for the rest of the team.

The risk of increased turnover among both managers and team members rises as burnout erodes job satisfaction and morale. The organization may incur additional costs related to recruitment, training, and the potential loss of valuable expertise.

Beyond the immediate workplace impact, manager burnout also poses risks to the individual's health. Persistent stress and exhaustion can lead to physical health issues, mental health challenges, and a diminished overall quality of life.

Recognizing and addressing manager burnout is, therefore, not just a matter of empathy and well-being but is essential for sustaining a healthy work environment, fostering organizational success, and preserving the health and effectiveness of key leadership figures within the company.

5 Manager burnout statistics

Managers are looking at the recent statistics
Manager burnout statistics
  1. 25% of managers in finance have considered quitting their job due to burnout (HRMorning)
  2. 2.6 times more likely for burned-out managers to leave their current employer (Gallup)
  3. 68% of HR leaders agree the hybrid work model responsibilities are overwhelming for managers, but only 14% of companies took action to reduce their responsibilities (HRMorning)
  4. Harvard business review reports that more than 50% of managers feel burnt out. (Source)
  5. As many as 61% of managers in the UK reported suffering from exhaustion and burnout since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Mind)

What are some misconceptions about manager burnout?

Employees having miscommunication with the manager
What are some misconceptions about manager burnout?
  1. Burnout is solely caused by workload: While excessive workload is a significant factor contributing to burnout, it's not the only cause. Burnout can also stem from factors such as lack of control, poor work-life balance, interpersonal conflicts, and insufficient recognition.
  2. Burnout is a sign of weakness or incompetence: Burnout is not indicative of a manager's lack of ability or dedication. It is a result of prolonged exposure to stress and demanding work environments. Even the most competent and capable managers can experience burnout under the right circumstances.
  3. Burnout is temporary and will resolve on its own: Burnout is a serious condition that requires attention and intervention. Ignoring burnout or hoping it will resolve on its own can lead to long-term consequences for both the individual and the organization. Proper support and strategies are necessary for recovery and prevention.
  4. Burnout only affects individuals with high-stress jobs: While high-stress jobs may increase the risk of burnout, it can affect individuals in any role or industry. Burnout can result from various factors beyond job demands, such as organizational culture, lack of support, and personal factors.
  5. Burnout is primarily a mental health issue: While burnout does have significant mental health implications, it also affects physical health and overall well-being. Symptoms of burnout can manifest physically, including exhaustion, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems, highlighting the holistic nature of the condition.
  6. Burnout is solely the individual's responsibility to manage: While individuals play a role in managing their stress levels and well-being, organizations also bear responsibility for creating supportive work environments. Addressing systemic issues such as workload, organizational culture, and resource allocation is essential for preventing and mitigating burnout among managers.
  7. Burnout only affects older or more experienced managers: Burnout can impact managers of all ages and experience levels. Younger managers may experience burnout due to the pressure to prove themselves, while older managers may struggle with increased responsibilities and changing work dynamics. Age is not a determining factor in susceptibility to burnout.

How do you deal with burnout as a manager?

Dealing with burnout as a manager requires a proactive and multi-faceted approach to address both aspects—the immediate symptoms and the underlying causes. Here are several strategies to help manage and prevent burnout:

  • Self-reflection: Take time to assess your workload, responsibilities, and stressors. Identify specific areas contributing to burnout and reflect on potential changes or adjustments.
  • Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Define specific work hours and avoid bringing work-related tasks into personal time. Communicate these boundaries to your team and colleagues.
  • Delegate effectively: Distribute tasks among team members based on their strengths and capabilities. Empower your team by delegating responsibilities, promoting collaboration, and fostering a sense of shared ownership.
  • Prioritize tasks: Focus on high-priority tasks and set realistic goals. Break down larger projects into manageable steps, and prioritize your workload to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Seek support: Communicate openly with your team, superiors, or HR department about your challenges and stressors. Building a support network allows for collaboration in problem-solving and can provide emotional support.
  • Encourage open communication: Foster a culture of open communication within your team. Encourage team members to express concerns, share feedback, and contribute ideas to create a positive and supportive work environment.

Significance of leadership engagement in curbing manager burnout

Manager lifting employee to raise to the top
Significance of leadership engagement in curbing manager burnout

The significance of leadership engagement in curbing manager burnout cannot be overstated, as leaders play a pivotal role in shaping the organizational culture and influencing the work environment.

When leaders actively engage in addressing and preventing manager burnout, it has far-reaching effects on the well-being of individuals, team dynamics, and overall organizational success.

Leadership engagement serves as a model for the rest of the organization, setting the tone for the importance of well-being and work-life balance.

When leaders prioritize the mental health and resilience of their managers, it sends a powerful message that employee well-being is a fundamental aspect of the organizational ethos.

Moreover, engaged leaders are better positioned to identify early signs of burnout among their managerial staff. By fostering open communication channels, leaders can create an environment where managers feel comfortable discussing their challenges, stressors, and the need for support.

Leadership engagement is instrumental in implementing organizational policies and practices that promote a healthy work culture. This includes providing resources for stress management, offering training on resilience and coping strategies, and actively supporting initiatives that enhance work-life balance.

Leaders support managers who champion these efforts contribute to a workplace where managers are more likely to thrive, reducing the risk of burnout and its associated negative consequences.

Furthermore, engaged leaders are instrumental in creating a supportive and collaborative work environment. By promoting teamwork, recognizing achievements, and fostering a positive organizational culture, leaders contribute to a workplace where managers feel valued and motivated.

This sense of appreciation and connection can act as a buffer against burnout, enhancing the overall job satisfaction and commitment of managerial staff.

Top 7 strategies to battle burnout for your managers in 2024

Managers discussing about their next target
Top 7 strategies to battle burnout for your managers in 2024

It's essential to adapt these strategies to the specific context of the organization and stay attuned to evolving workplace dynamics.

Regular assessments of the work environment and feedback from managers can help tailor these strategies to address emerging challenges in the ever-changing professional landscape.

1. Promote work-life balance

Encourage managers to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Promote realistic working hours, discourage overworking, and support the use of vacation days. Emphasize the importance of downtime for mental and physical well-being.

2. Provide stress management resources

Offer resources and workshops on stress management techniques. This may include mindfulness training, relaxation exercises, or other coping mechanisms. Equipping managers with effective tools to handle stress is crucial for preventing burnout.

3. Encourage regular breaks

Advocate for regular breaks during the workday. Short breaks can help refresh the mind and body to prevent mental fatigue. Encourage managers to step away from their desks, engage in brief physical activity or exercise, or practice relaxation techniques.

4. Foster open communication

Create a culture of open communication where managers feel comfortable discussing their challenges and seeking support. Regular check-ins and one-on-one meetings can provide a platform for managers to express concerns, share feedback, and collaboratively problem-solve.

5. Assign tasks properly

Encourage effective delegation to distribute tasks and responsibilities among team members. Managers should be empowered to recognize the strengths of their team members and delegate tasks accordingly. This not only lightens the workload but also fosters a sense of shared ownership.

6. Recognize and reward

Acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of managers. Recognition, rewards, and performance reviews inspire managers and play a significant role in boosting morale and preventing burnout. Celebrate achievements and milestones, reinforcing a positive work environment.

7. Invest in professional development

Support ongoing professional development for managers. This could include training programs, workshops, or mentorship opportunities. Investing in skill enhancement and career growth can instill a sense of purpose and engagement, contributing to resilience against burnout.

8. Encourage boundary-setting technology practices

Promote healthy technology habits by encouraging managers to establish boundaries around email and work-related notifications outside of working hours. Implement policies or tools that allow for designated periods of uninterrupted focus time to mitigate the constant connectivity contributing to burnout.

9. Foster a supportive team culture

Encourage a collaborative and supportive team environment where managers can rely on their peers for assistance and camaraderie. Building strong team dynamics can provide emotional support during challenging times and reduce the feeling of isolation that often accompanies burnout.

What are the long-term solutions to addressing manager burnout in the workplace?

Manager working with employees closely for an idea
What are the long-term solutions to addressing manager burnout in the workplace?
  1. Implement workload management strategies: Assess and redistribute workloads to ensure they are manageable and realistic for managers. Implement effective delegation processes, streamline workflows, and set clear priorities to prevent overwhelm and avoid burnout out.
  2. Provide comprehensive training and development: Offer training programs and resources focused on stress management, resilience-building, and effective leadership skills. Equip managers with the tools and strategies they need to navigate challenges, prioritize tasks, and maintain their well-being over the long term.
  3. Promote flexibility and work-life balance: Embrace flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting, flexible hours, and compressed workweeks to accommodate diverse needs and preferences. Encourage managers to prioritize self-care, set boundaries, and take regular breaks to recharge outside of work hours.
  4. Encourage leadership support and recognition: Foster strong relationships between managers and upper management built on trust, respect, and support. Ensure that managers receive recognition and appreciation for their contributions, achievements, and efforts to maintain team well-being.
  5. Promote employee engagement and participation: Involve managers in decision-making processes, solicit their feedback, and empower them to contribute to initiatives aimed at improving work conditions and organizational culture. Engaged managers who feel valued and heard are more likely to remain resilient in the face of challenges.
  6. Offer ongoing support and resources: Provide access to counseling services, employee assistance programs, and other support resources to help managers cope with stress, navigate difficult situations, and maintain their mental and emotional well-being. Ensure that these resources are confidential, easily accessible, and stigma-free.
  7. Lead by example: Demonstrate leadership behaviors that prioritize well-being, work-life balance, quality sleep, healthy diet, and self-care. Model healthy boundaries, encourage managers to take breaks and vacations, and actively promote a culture of wellness throughout the organization.

How can employee engagement software be an antidote to your manager burnout woes in 2024?

How can employee engagement software be an antidote to your manager burnout woes in 2024?
How can employee engagement software be an antidote to your manager burnout woes in 2024?

In 2024, employee engagement software emerges as a potent antidote to manager burnout by offering a multifaceted approach to workplace challenges.

Real-time feedback mechanisms and direct reports empower managers to stay attuned to their team's sentiments, allowing for swift responses to concerns and the prevention of issues from escalating.

Performance analytics integrated into these platforms provide managers with comprehensive insights into team dynamics, enabling proactive identification of stressors and areas for improvement.

Recognition and rewards programs embedded in the software contribute to a positive work culture, reducing stress and mitigating the risk of burnout and job stress.

Moreover, employee engagement platforms often include well-being tracking tools, allowing managers to monitor key indicators of employee wellness. By identifying patterns of stress or fatigue, managers can implement targeted interventions and workload adjustments.

Collaboration and communication tools foster effective team interaction, reducing misunderstandings and enhancing a supportive atmosphere. The software's goal-setting features, coupled with progress monitoring, aid managers in managing workloads and preventing burnout.

Additionally, these platforms may highlight training and development opportunities, promoting continuous learning and professional growth for managers.

By providing tools for work-life balance, such as flexible scheduling and time-off tracking, employee engagement software contributes to creating healthier and more sustainable work environments.


In wrapping up, understanding and combating manager burnout is paramount for organizational health in 2024. With a deep dive into its symptoms, causes, and effective strategies, we've shed light on the importance of addressing this issue head-on.

Amidst the challenges, CultureMonkey emerges as a beacon of support for both managers and organizations alike.

By utilizing CultureMonkey's employee engagement platform, managers can gain valuable insights into their team's well-being through anonymous surveys and feedback mechanisms.

This enables proactive measures to be taken, mitigating the risk of burnout and fostering a healthier work environment.

With CultureMonkey's user-friendly interface and comprehensive features, organizations can empower their managers to lead with confidence and resilience, ultimately driving productivity and success.

Don't let burnout dim the brilliance of your team.


1. What is the burnout rate for managers?

The burnout rate for managers is concerning, with studies indicating a significant portion experiencing symptoms. Research suggests that the demanding nature of managerial roles contributes to elevated stress levels, resulting in burnout among many managers. Effective strategies for workload management, support systems, and promoting work-life balance can help mitigate burnout risks and improve overall well-being among managerial staff.

2. Is manager burnout only getting worse?

Yes, manager burnout appears to be escalating. Factors such as increasing workloads, heightened expectations, and rapid organizational changes contribute to worsening burnout rates. The evolving dynamics of work, coupled with persistent pressure to perform, exacerbate stress levels among managers. Proactive measures, including addressing systemic issues, promoting a supportive culture, and providing resources for stress management, are essential to combat this trend.

3. How prevalent is manager burnout in today's workplace?

Manager burnout is prevalent in today's workplace, affecting a substantial portion of managerial staff across industries. Surveys and studies consistently highlight the widespread occurrence of burnout symptoms among managers. This underscores the urgent need for organizations to address the root causes of burnout and implement effective strategies to support managerial well-being and productivity.

4. What is manager burnout, and why is it a significant issue?

Manager burnout refers to a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion experienced by individuals in managerial roles. It arises from prolonged exposure to high levels of stress, intense workloads, and challenging responsibilities. Managerial burnout poses significant concerns for organizations, as it can lead to decreased productivity, increased turnover, and negative impacts on employee morale and organizational performance.

5. How do you help a burnt-out manager?

Organizations can implement various strategies tailored to their needs which includes providing access to resources for stress management, such as counseling services and exercise or wellness programs. Encouraging open communication and offering flexibility in workload and scheduling can help to recover and alleviate burnout symptoms. Fostering a supportive work culture that values employee well-being can prevent the recurrence of burnout.



Santhosh is a Jr. Product Marketer with 2+ years of experience. He loves to travel solo (though he doesn’t label them as vacations, they are) to explore, meet people, and learn new stories.