A few weeks ago, my blog post was about leadership qualities that are essential in running a successful insurance agency. One of those qualities is being able to recognize when the frustrations of running an agency are leading to burnout, which can be a problem not only for the continued success of the agency, but the health of its owner, as well. If the leader of an agency is experiencing burnout, it can result not only in the stagnation of the agency, but health problems for the leader. According to a white paper by Oak Street Funding that I recently came across, burnout at work increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, stroke, and sudden cardiac death as much as the more familiar risk factors of smoking, high cholesterol, and being overweight.
Most people recognize the symptoms of burnout, feeling constantly frustrated with daily activities, bored with having to engage in those activities, or actively avoiding them. The first step to combating burnout is to get away from the daily grind to give yourself time to recharge your batteries, so to speak. Take a vacation or at least build in time away from the office during the day to give yourself an opportunity to relax and relieve the stress that naturally builds up. A daily walk or work out has the added benefit of increasing your physical health. Another suggestion made in the white paper is to set aside one afternoon each week to do something that you enjoy, whether it is playing golf or volunteering at your child’s school.
Being away from the office will give you time to evaluate the current state of your agency and determine what changes may need to be made in both what the agency is doing and how you spend your workday. If you regularly feel at the end of the workday that you have not accomplished anything, it’s time to take a hard look at how you are spending your time and what changes can be made to allow you to do those things that you enjoy doing and that positively affect your agency. It’s always a good idea to periodically revisit your agency’s business plan and make sure what your agency is doing is adequately serving the needs of its customers, both current and prospective. If not, it’s time to make changes in the direction of your agency to address any disconnects between the business plan and what is actually happening.
Making changes in the direction of your agency and your daily work routine can have an energizing effect on both you and your staff. However, recognizing and implementing such changes can be difficult because it requires an honest, unemotional assessment of the status quo. For that reason, it may be a good idea to seek outside help from those that are familiar with but not emotionally attached to your agency (e.g., your attorney or accountant) or even from consultants who specialize in making such reviews and can help ensure that the necessary changes are made.