How to Counter Stress and Maintain Great Leadership
We all know that ongoing stress is detrimental to your health, but how is it affecting your ability to focus and lead people to great results?
Most are already bogged down with their workload, and now you find yourself working even harder to manage a team from home. It can be unsettling to go from consistency to a sense of uncertainty, and stress makes this transition even harder for you.
A recent biofeedback study that measured the effects of acute stress on decision making, found that “compared to controls, participants in the stress condition responded with higher heart rates and…on the decision-making task made less advantageous choices.” In other words, your stress is likely messing with your level head (think “beer goggles” but from stress… Stress Goggles! :).
Structuring your life in a routine and predictable way may bring you a sense of peace and ease, however, it might also dampen your ability to cope with unexpected challenges. Did you know that some athletes will train by putting their bodies in awkward and abnormal positions to protect themselves from unexpected injuries?
Disrupt your notion that things will continue to be a certain way just because they’ve always been that way!
If you want a routine that you can count on, build one in the only place you can control: within yourself. We practice and teach our executives (and our children) conscious breathing and mental de-escalation when things don’t go according to plan – it’s a great place to start! This makes any stress moment better, and by making this your routine, you are preparing yourself mentally and physically for a time when stuff really hits the fan! Oh, and by the way, minimizing stress in this way enhances your capacity to lead well. #bewellleadwell – BOOM! 💣
A stress-inducing word that we listen for (from ourselves and our clients), is “should”. When you start “shoulding” on yourself and others, you’re certainly experiencing and creating more stress. Ex. “It should be easier than this.” “You should have done it this way / gotten it done by now.” “I shouldn’t have waited so long to…” Language is super important, as it creates emotions within us (often below our awareness radar) that manifest into our actions.
Doing things differently also helps us to build empathy. Everyone experiences situations based on their own reality. Great leaders seek to understand those realities as to be more relatable and connected. Try reaching out to others who you may be “shoulding” on, and seek to understand their life experience. For fun, you could try working from a shared (busy/chaotic) workspace to understand what your people might be living.
Steps to counter stress and maintain great leadership:
- Put yourself under the microscope and notice the physiological ways in which stress is affecting you. Journal what you see. 🧐
- Review your daily routine and look for ways to deviate from your norms. Shake it up! 💃
- Build resilience by seeing everyday unexpected situations as an opportunity to practice being at peace with change. Ommm ~ 🧘♀️
- Connect “off-task” with your team members to understand their realities. Stories teach us empathy!
- Stop shoulding on yourself and others! 💩😁
(visit our resource page for a downloadable version of these points)
If you notice that your stress gets in the way of your great leadership, then let’s talk!