Can Over-Ambition Cause Burnout?

Sometimes having a highly ambitious and driven team means a higher likelihood of burnout. 

I spoke with a client recently who had a problem that he deemed as a ‘good problem to have.’

The team was highly-ambitious young professionals who were absolutely committed to the purpose of the organization and everything that they did. 

Perfect, right?

Not in this case. 

High achievement was at a cost and this cost was becoming more and more prominent within their culture. 

People were overworking constantly. 

People never really switched off. 

People said they didn’t need breaks, they loved their work. 

People were starting to make mistakes and show up tired and stressed.

An interesting problem to have, right? How do you approach something like this? On one hand, you don’t want to decrease momentum but on the other, you want to create a healthy outlook on productivity.

Let me tell you what the real problem was. 


In a team of highly motivated people who are working towards a shared vision, nobody wants to let anyone else down. 

Nobody wants to be the one who doesn’t respond. 

Nobody wants to be the one who prevents such an important project from moving forward. 

Nobody wants to be the one to request a break.

So the team keeps convincing themselves, overcome with passion for their work and their team. 

‘Surely, if everyone can keep going at working at this pace, so can I!’

This type of team actually lacks the psychological safety to slow down, take down time, and prioritize their own needs. 

But not in the way that most people talk about psychological safety. 

So, how do you change this? How do you solve this problem? 

You need to shift and change mindsets on an individual and group level. 

You need to create safety amongst the group.

You need to get people really talking. 

That’s exactly what I’m facilitating for this team! A workshop to do just that. To change internal beliefs and empower everyone to reflect on what true impact involves. What real sustainable productivity means for the work they want to create and the difference they want to make. 

And if you or your team are in a similar position, here are the ways that I can support you in making the change in culture and how you work: 

1. Pre-order my book. Managing Employee Burnout: How to Develop A Happy, Healthy and Engaged Workforce. (available December 2022)

2. Revive, Engage and Develop your remote/hybrid team (interactive training for leaders and individual contributors) here. (70+ companies)

3. Work 1:1 with me as a fractional executive.  Expert advice, up-to-date, proven knowledge, and a chance to co-create an amazing distributed culture together. (1 spot available)