The IT field is fast-paced and highly stressful, especially for those in executive roles. It can be easy to become overwhelmed under the pressure and end up burning out from being stretched in many directions. In fact, roughly 25% of IT execs leave a job after just one year and 15% exit in year two – which is around double the average turnover rate. The good news is there are certain things you can do to help prevent this from happening to you.
Take time for yourself after a significant event.
Things like major system outages and security breaches can and will occur on your watch, despite your best efforts. Managing these situations and navigating the aftermath can be likened to what first responders experience after responding to an accident or other major event. The only way to truly recover from these situations is to take time to rest and recharge once the dust settles. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.
Don’t be afraid to delegate.
The best IT executives know how important it is to hire talented individuals to work on their team. When you place an emphasis on hiring well, you’ll be able to comfortably delegate some of your workload to others without worrying that it will be handled properly. Sometimes just getting a few things off your plate can be enough to help you keep pushing forward. As an added bonus, your employees will learn to master new valuable skills that will serve them well in their careers.
Don’t try and reinvent the wheel.
Many IT executives end up crashing and burning because they try to do too much and overextend their abilities. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Leverage the technology that’s available to you, particularly IT process automation, which can dramatically reduce your workload and that of your employees while simultaneously improving productivity and efficiency, reducing errors and saving your organization money. It’s a win-win!
Make communication a top priority.
IT executives often feel isolated even when they are surrounded by qualified teams and individuals. This can rapidly lead to becoming overwhelmed and frustrated and make it difficult to handle their own challenges, let alone lend a hand to others. Communicating openly and regularly, both within the department and with others throughout the organization, can reduce these feelings and create a much more dynamic, connected infrastructure. It can also reduce much of the pressure IT execs are under, allowing them to do their jobs more effectively.
Recognize that it’s a thankless job.
When it comes to the work IT executives are responsible for, silence is actually a sign of success. When your ultimate focus is on preventing security breaches and your team, armed with tools like automated cyber security incident response, is able to successfully keep these risks at bay, it’s highly likely that your victory will go unnoticed. Recognize this and measure and embrace your successes in other ways, such as reviewing your mean time to resolution (MTTR) and developing best practices to further enhance your organization’s IT performance. It’s a thankless job, but the feeling of accomplishment you’ll get at the end of the day will be well worth it.
If you’re an IT executive that’s on the brink of a workplace breakdown due to stress, frustration and just feeling like you’re being overworked, take a step back. Put the above strategies into motion and over time you’ll be better able to handle anything that’s thrown your way without becoming overwhelmed or burning out.