Some effective tips to deal with leadership stress

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GIVEN that a lot of things need to be done with too little time to accomplish everything, leaders must always take a little time out. Being able to involve yourself in all aspects of your responsibilities is both: exciting and exhausting when you are a leader.

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However true leaders know how a certain level of stress can keep you focused, make you competitive, and encourage action. Take note that anytime you have to give a big presentation or talk to an important client, if you are not at least a little nervous, you will not give it your best.

Nevertheless, stress can also be lethal, especially in today’s vile economic reality, where every professional is menaced by endless hours, layoffs, and anxiety about what may come next. The best and most experienced leaders acknowledge that dealing with leadership stress has to do with six essential factors, and these are the way out, now more than ever:

Keeping perspective

It is crucial to acknowledge that no matter how bad the circumstances, or how big your challenge is, there are others in a worse situation who are probably dealing with it much better than you are.

A lot of managers have to talk to their staff about cost reductions, possible dismissals, and new ways to make a profit. It is a stressful speech which needs one to calm down afterwards. Here is how Tendai does it;
Tendai is an executive director at a major food chain firm, and after delivering the dreaded speech he decided to go out for lunch at a nearby restaurant to unwind.

While he was there, he noticed the cashier was in a wheelchair and he also saw a blind customer trying to order a meal. Immediately he realised his problem would soon disappear, theirs would not. Nevertheless, they looked happy, optimistic, and energised.

Basically, their attitude was far more inspiring and helpful than his at that moment and he was grateful for the lesson.

Opening up

Stress manifests when you hold on to too much inside, and many leaders often feel they have to manage certain things by themselves, do not. Open up, it will make you appear vulnerable in a good way and authentic, and that is what draws people to a leader. Releasing the load will make you feel liberated, and the more your staff knows about a serious situation, the more in control they will feel.

Feedback, criticism

The better you acknowledge your strengths and your weaknesses, the easier it will be to remain calm. The more you welcome ideas and opportunities, the more powerful you will feel.

However, this means you have to ask people to be honest with you, and you have to be ready to accept what they say even if you do not like it. Allowing for this will make you smarter, and will diminish everyone’s stress because they know they can speak and you will listen.

Staying fit

Exercise is crucial for a leader’s success. Several studies have proven that leaders who exercise are more effective and deal much better with stress. Exercise helps keep emotions under control, and it relaxes and energises you. We know it is not easy to fit exercise into your schedule when you are a busy executive, however, you must find a way. Everyone around you and even you yourself will be thankful.

Reorganising your life

Get organised and define your priorities, both professionally and personally. It is very common to add stress to your life by getting ready for a meeting in the last minute or by not sharing crucial information in a timely manner, and this happens when you are too worried about competition and secondary assignments.

Most people live their lives in a very busy but undisciplined manner. In many cases, we only care about doing things non-stop, without ever considering stopping certain things. Successful leaders choose one unproductive thing that wastes their time daily and drop it. They do this everyday, and in the process liberate themselves from stress.

Recharging batteries

Take time to slow down. Working long hours without stop will not make you more productive, much to the contrary, it will jeopardise your performance. When you take time to recharge, you are able to do more in less time. Professional athletes know it very well: overdo it and you will get burned out.
Robert Mandeya is a an executive coach in human capital development and corporate education, a certified life coach in leadership and professional development at the Institute of Leadership Research and Development. You can contact him on lead.inst.dev@gmail.com, mandeyarobert@gmail.com.

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