Are CEOs A Burnt Out Case

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 1816 , Published on 02 July 2012

The chief executive officer aka CEO is one of the most important positions in the hierarchy of a company. They are the face of an organization, representing it nationally and internationally.

However only a zilch actually realizes the kind of pressure these eminent people go through when the expectations of their company, expectations of their family and the expectations of them with themselves clash. The main issue which crops up then is “What to do, which task to prioritize, how to achieve goals and above all How to allocate time”?

The pressure of meeting deadlines, to lead in the global market strategies and onus of building the reputation of their company globally, sometimes get so difficult to   bear ,that CEOs head towards Karoshi. Karoshi is a Japanese word meaning “death from overwork”. In words of Chetan Bhagat, “When Citibank sees a great future in you, it means you have no life at present...”.Does this statement really hold true in the current scenario? Are CEOs of companies really a burnt out case in this era of cut throat competition? Nonetheless they have a bright future professionally but their personal life might be overshadowed by the expectations of their company from them.

Michael Porter’s “Seven things that surprise new CEOs” is something which looks into the insights of CEO’s life. They face a lot of challenges in their routine work as their forte is not limited to managing the internal operations but to set up an image of their company in the global village. They have to keep the vision and mission of the company into account while designing & strategizing their moves.

Technology: A Hidden Assassin

Though technology has helped human beings in reducing the labor but it has also increased the competitive spirits among them. Initially companies fought for reducing their inputs and gaining profits, now the battle is for getting revenues higher than all the other companies in the market and to create a competitive advantage over the other. Use of new technology has now become an implicit concept. Entrepreneurs have to use it, irrespective of the situation, if they want to survive in this competitive scenario. This mentality also creates an added burden on the company officials. They thrive for keeping themselves updated with the ongoing scenarios.

To add to it, the main officials of the company are never allowed to cut themselves off from the work. Even when they are not in office they have to coordinate through their BBM, laptops, emails etc. Their vacations thus don’t remain ‘vacation’ for long and gets ‘vacated’ of all the fun and enjoyment even before it starts.

Work : Compulsion or Passion

It sometimes gets difficult to find out whether a person sitting on one of the top most positions is working hard because he has a passion to work or he has a compulsion for the same. For the former set, stress management activities might not be of much importance but for the latter a rigorous way-out of it needs to be designed and implemented.

Companies these days thus take special measures to ensure that the work and life of its doers clearly balanced. Two main methods usually adopted by companies are as follows:

i) Vacations

This is something which hits the bulls’ eye always. A week’s trip to some place of person’s interest, with the people he likes spending time with, engaging himself into adventurous or relaxing activities is something which eases out the piled up pain.

Chhaya Momaya, image consultant and life coach at Pagoda Advisors, says she ensures her family holidays together three times a year. Two are educational holidays, namely exploring a new country, its culture and cuisine. The third holiday is longer and usually around summer vacation.

Striking a different note, Amit Khanna, Chairman of Reliance Entertainment, says he does not feel the need for holidays. A happy bachelor, he however does frequently take time off to be with his extended family in Delhi. Other than that, whenever he is abroad on an official trip, he uses the opportunity to explore that country.

Choosing to redefine the concept of vacation, Aditi Talreja, Director of, says relaxation is a state of mind. “I believe that if you enjoy what you are doing, there is no reason to be stressed. I love running, because I'm passionate about food and ordering online. Whenever I work, it keeps me mentally energized and refreshed.” She does, however, take short breaks built around work.

ii) Strategic model

Stephen R.Covey talks about the need for people to identify and satisfy their "4L"s to release stress. The "L"s represent:

a) Live: This deals with how much money do we really need to make to put a roof over our heads, food on the table and to finance our children's education, etc.

b) Love: This explains what type of social environments do we need to work and live in to be content

c) Learn: The parameter which tells us what do we want to learn next. The process of learning should be continuous.

d) Legacy: The ‘L’ which answers what do we want to create and leave for others

The 4Ls represent the essential elements of a satisfactory existence and it stands different for different people. The HR is giving huge weight age to this model these days. It is used as a stress relieving tool.


The fact is that whether or not the CEOs are taken care of by their company, the responsibility of ensuring that all I’s is dotted and all T’s are crossed lies with them. They will just do much better, with much enthusiasm and innovation if their mind is fresh and rejuvenated.

This article has been authored by Saumya Bansal from NMIMS.



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