The Silent Killer: Boredom at Work

The silent killer: boredom at work

By now, most of us are aware of the number one silent killer in America, Heart attacks. 600,000 thousand people die of heart disease every year. That equates to 1:4 deaths in the USA. 205,000 of these deaths are people who have had more than two heart attacks in their life. Talk about ignoring the signs. They sneak up when least expected and usually too late to remind us of what we have been doing wrong; salt, trans-fat, lack of exercise and stress. The hope is that you are given a warning and not a death sentence, yet it seems like most of us have warnings even before the “big one” and still do not pay attention to the signs.

As a business owner, your business has the same type of warnings and killers as our bodies have. Many of them we see all the time yet don’t take the time to do what is necessary to avoid the death. As a leader you control the heartbeat, health and vitality of your business; yet why don’t you do anything when you see and feel it not running in optimal health? I know, I know…time, money and energy all contribute to the overwhelm you feel when you do recognize a change needs to happen. Just like your body, your business won’t last forever. And just like your body, we forget how important it is to us before it is too late.

Are you bored?

Boredom is the death sentence to business. A bored leader equates to an unorganized, unfocused, useless cog in a wheel that is clogging up the system. As a leader you fill a role on the organization chart, just like everyone else. Do you know what you are supposed to be doing? Do you have a position description for yourself? If you have never actually been taught and/or told what a leader does, you of course would not know what to do. Faking it until you make it doesn’t work here and will not save you in time when the “big one” may strike.

The Warning Signs

There are some simple signs that can be read as symptoms of boredom. A leader who is not enthused, understanding or clear on what his/her role as a leader is, will find them selves trapped in many of the items below. Identifying them early can be the first successful thing you do to prevent the “big one” from happening. Use this simple test and, if you find that you are falling into more than three of these in a typical week, be proactive and talk to a professional.


  1. Do you surf the internet aimlessly?

  2. Do you find yourself arriving at the office later than you told yourself you would or need to?

  3. Do you leave the office early, only to recognize the things you needed to do could have been done by someone else or on the weekends?

  4. Do you meet with your staff randomly rather than scheduled?

  5. Do you have focused, agenda led staff meetings or do you wing it, casually discussing items?

  6. Do you have organized consistent company wide business development meetings?

  7. Do you miss or reschedule an appointment more than once in a week?

  8. Do you have lunches that last longer than an hour?

  9. Do you take more than one personal call in a day?

  10. Are you focusing on your weekend schedule, before Wednesday?


Early Action

The first step is admittance that you have a problem. This is the hardest, yet most defining step in the entire process to becoming a healthy and productive leader. We all have times we fall off the wagon, yet getting back on quickly and with ease is what separates the healthy from the ill. It is not expected that you know what to do about the problem at the admittance stage. If you did then you would have done something by now. Hopefully. But admitting and then getting the right help is key to keeping these warning signs, warning signs and not causing the “big one” to occur. If you have never spoken to anyone about what it takes to lead your organization and yourself, now is the time. We don’t know what we need, until we learn of it.


After learning what your missing tools, behaviors and possible characteristics are, being a successful leader means understanding how to develop and maintain them. Incorporating these into yourself, and hence your business, are important, but maintaining them are key. For many, a maintenance plan is important so you don’t slip back into old patterns. This may take a consistent meeting schedule with your coach or mentor, finding a group that allows you to stay connected to what you should be doing and not doing, and using the tools for leadership success continually. Just like health and exercise, over time you will develop them into your daily living patterns and it won’t take anyone but yourself to keep yourself on track. But, in the meantime don’t expect yourself to be able to do that. With all the changes you just implemented, that alone can take all your energy. No one is ever perfect, yet we can all be our own version of perfect once identified, developed and maintained.

Synergistic Leadership begins and ends with you; however the middle is supported by a lot of help, wisdom and guidance. Get an assessment by a professional now…it could save the life of your business and you.