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Under pressure

Senior leaders’ state of well-being and resiliency compromising post-pandemic recovery

The global pandemic has profoundly affected people’s lives, livelihoods, relationships, and physical health. It has also had a huge impact on their mental health. Research has shown a significant decline in workers’ mental health since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, especially among those who manage other people. Yet there is very little data about how senior leaders are doing. This research fills that gap. And what we’ve discovered is quite sobering.

Our survey shows that senior leaders are struggling under the strain of living and working under pandemic conditions. Rising workloads, longer hours, and the desire to ensure the well-being of staff are all contributing to higher levels of work stress, and valuable peer relationships are suffering. In fact, in almost all areas, senior leaders are experiencing higher mental strain than employees or mid-level managers. Yet the lingering stigma surrounding mental health means that many find it difficult to admit they’re suffering and more than half worry that doing so would impact their careers.  This means they aren’t getting the help they need.

The result? More than 80% of senior leaders report a level of exhaustion typical of burnout risk. And 51% say they’re considering leaving, whether by resigning, moving to a less demanding role, retiring, or taking a leave of absence.

These issues have significant implications not just for leaders, but also their organizations, and the economic recovery overall. Organizations not only risk losing key leadership talent, they risk the unintentional impact that highly strained senior leaders can have on workers and workplace culture. 

The need for action is urgent. For more, read Well-being and resilience of senior leaders: A risk to post-pandemic recovery

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