Resilience and Stress Management for Leaders
“My team doesn’t meet our deadlines… They are negative … I have to demand a genuine smile… They detach themselves from the work… They ignore me… I have to run so many meetings and to follow up our business progression… My mind is a complete chaos!”
Being a leader or a manager is a tough and stressful job. Your mind is full of targets, deadlines, meetings, interviewing prospective employees, hiring and firing, resolving conflicts, motivating employees, evaluate the employee progress and lead the organization to success. Above this, you might also be busy with personal and family issues, such as unsuccessful marriage, demanding children or health issues. Moreover, your own team isn’t performing well, they fail to meet the targets, they are not connected, they don’t collaborate and they don’t trust you. In addition, you believe that everyone is expecting a lot from you, while you do more than of what is expected and although you look after everyone, no one is looking after you.
Obviously, having a leadership role might make you think that you are bulletproof on stress and can control everything around you. The reality is that nobody is resilient and at any point of our life we will suffer from intense stress. While moderate workplace stress can be considered an essential motivator, high-intensity stress leads to low productivity, bad decisions, absenteeism, turnover, and distracting employee engagement.
1. Step back and Listen to Yourself
Everything starts from inside us. The most imperative thing to do when you are facing a stressful period is to reflect on yourself. As a human being, you need to give yourself the permission to step back and think what has caused you this stress. It is important to know your limitations, be aware of your feelings and behaviors and take a break for yourself. Feeling under pressure has a negative impact not only on your ability to work effectively with others but also on your decision-making process. A good leader is someone who has the ability to understand that he is also a human and not a superhuman and will pick up his thoughts, feelings, and worries to create his own resilience.
2. Delegate – Trust your people
Team leaders have an excessive need to do everything by themselves. However, they forget that a great way to manage the workload is through delegation. Delegation doesn’t mean passing my work to someone else, but to ease my workload by empowering and motivating my team to take responsibility for solving issues. Your people will feel much more committed and confident if they feel they are involved in different tasks, while you will manage another challenge that is on your way.
3. Get to know your team
Just take a moment and think how well do you really know your team members. Why do you believe they are not satisfied with you? Why do you have conflicts, misunderstandings, and disagreements? If you haven't thought these questions maybe it is time to start asking yourself. Organizations are created by people, managed by people and provide service to people. If you want to be successful and relaxed you need to know how your people think, feel and act. If you do not know your team members, you do not listen to them, you do not appreciate them, then, you won’t be able to manage them. It is essential to spend some time on getting know your people, to learn more about them as individuals and not only as employees. Employees want to be led by leaders who genuinely care about them as a whole individual and not of what they represent to the organization.
4. Make stress an open topic
Talking about stress is not easy as most of the working environments are reluctant to admit that they cannot function under pressure. To manage your stress effectively and be well-prepared, you need to create a working environment where you disclose your stress easier. Make stress an open topic of discussion and find out ways on how you can eliminate, manage and recover from the unexpected crisis. Moreover, being open to your team about your feelings will make you seem more approachable, your team will realize that you are human just like them while you will create an environment where people support each other in stressful periods.
5. Ask help
If you feel more overwhelmed than usual, then it would be wise to seek help. You can ask help from your manager or a coach or a mental health practitioner. These individuals can help you identify the problem, organize and prioritize your life and your time. A coaching psychologist will help you differentiate between what is essential to do now or what is not under your control and how to change a negative pattern of behavior.
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm...