Am I Leading a Team on the Brink of Burnout? Navigating Wellness as a Hospitality Leader

Group of coworkers

In the bustling world of hospitality, where guest experiences and wellness are paramount, there is a silent struggle that often goes unnoticed: burnout among the hardworking individuals who strive to create memorable moments.

In 2024, burnout remains a pervasive challenge, with two-thirds of U.S. employees stating they have experienced burnout at some point. This issue has worsened since the pandemic, with 67% of U.S. workers feeling the impact more acutely during this period. These statistics underscore the ongoing need for effective strategies to address workplace stress and its consequences.

Employees suffering from burnout are 63% more likely to take a sick day and the condition is associated with several health risks, including chronic fatigue and cardiovascular disease. 

In hospitality, creating lasting memories for guests is a cornerstone, but it starts with creating nurturing environments for our teams. It is near impossible for passionate leaders and team members to thrive in toxic environments. 

We’ve met countless leaders within our industry who excel in fostering environments where teams flourish. These same leaders have also been on teams who were on the brink of exhaustion, overwhelm and at times burnout. 

Slowing down isn’t just a luxury – it’s a necessity. By acknowledging the toll of relentless pursuit and creating systems where moments of reflection and re-centering are a habit, we can rediscover appreciation for our role and purpose and in turn prevent burnout in our teams. 

Here are eight reminders to prevent burnout within ourselves and our teams:

  1. You’re not alone: Recognize that many share similar struggles and seek support from peers and mentors.
  2. Creativity is key in hospitality: Embrace the creative essence of the industry to foster innovation and fresh perspectives.
  3. Vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength: Lead with vulnerability, creating a culture where authenticity is valued and trust is nurtured.
  4. Time is the only thing we don’t get back: Cherish moments with your team and loved ones, prioritizing work-life balance.
  5. Know your team: Understand, acknowledge, and act proactively when you see signs of burnout in your teams. 
  6. Cultivate culture and vision: Invest in shaping a positive organizational culture aligned with a clear vision.
  7. Hire and onboard on purpose: Develop a hiring and onboarding process that highlights your values and prepares the newcomers to thrive and flourish. 
  8. Lead by example: Behave in a manner that reflects the leadership qualities you admire, inspiring others through your actions.

Most leaders are leading a team with a least one person on the brink of burnout. Our advice is to stay vigilant, to stay present, and to get creative as you are engaging your team in your culture because according to gallop’s data engagement is the lowest it has been in 10 years. 

More than half of the workforce cannot find a work-life balance. Although many of your companies offer wellness initiatives,  team members aren’t using those well-being perks and benefits. Hourly and shift-based industries are more prone to employee burnout​​ (Workforce.com)​. Treat wellness and your culture as important as the bottom line. Let’s lead with inspiration and pave the way for a brighter future in hospitality. As we continue our professional growth, we love hearing the vulnerable stories from leaders sharing difficult times and how they overcame them. We urge you to connect with your team, get vulnerable and grow together.

For more insights and strategies, visit Erika Solano.

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Juan Tamayo is a partner at SOL Luxury Hospitality alongside Erika Solano. Together, they travel the globe to train and consult hospitality leaders in service excellence, positive leadership, community engagement, and sustainability. They believe in the power of people in the hospitality industry and are proud to be on the leading edge of flourishing for everyone in the field. 


Sandro Formica is a Research Fellow in Positive Organizational Psychology at Claremont Graduate University and a Visiting Professor of Positive Organizations at Florida International University and in selected European universities. Since 2000, he has been offering Executive Education training to global and multi-national firms’ C-level managers in the U.S.A., Middle East, New Zealand, France, Spain, and Italy.

https://www.erikasolano.com