The Burnout

Most Burnouts were something before they slipped into this extreme leadership type.  They were typically hard-charging managers, and perhaps even exhibited some other extreme leadership type, but then something happened.  Something that changed everything for them.

It might be an event -- a personal tragedy, a career disappointment, an epiphany gained by watching someone else.  It could be just an accumulation of little things that piled on one another, much as that proverbial final straw on the camel's back.  Whatever the reason, the Burnout enters a time and a place where they no longer care about the business, their co-workers, or their customers.

The Burnout lacks the motivation to come to work each day.  They try to spend as much time as possible doing whatever gives them energy.  It certainly isn't their work, however.  They exhibit fatigue, and seem to have a tough time even putting up a show that they care about what is happening in the business.  In an odd moment, they might be caught surfing the web, or working a crossword puzzle, rather than reviewing last month's financials, or meeting with their subordinates.

Burnouts are noticeable mainly by their lack of presence and participation.  Most learn how to cover up their lack of motivation, at least in a superficial way.  They tend to be indecisive, or uncaring, and provide little inspiration to their teams or organizations.  They go through the motions, rather than provoking performance -- or even a reaction in some cases -- in others.

For subordinates, a burnout is one of the easiest extreme leadership types -- mainly because the Burnout will leave them primarily to their own devices.  While Burnouts are unmotivated, they aren't necessarily willing to accept blame, and they probably won't offer subordinates much guidance on the politics of the organization.  Benign neglect can rapidly become scapegoating in the Burnout's world.