Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Leadership and Stress

Stress happens. It is a part of life.  It always has been and always will be.  For those in leadership, stress can be especially problematic.  Because of your position, everything you say and do influences the lives of others.  Every decision not only affects the organization, but everyone around you.

I recently came across a Center for Creative Leadership White Paper entitled “The Stress of Leadership.”  Their study revealed that...

Work is a primary source of stress for leaders and that having a leadership role in the work place  increases the level of stress.

Most organizations do not provide leaders with the tools they need to manage stress.

Most leaders say their stress level is higher today than it was five years ago.

The fact is, leadership can be stressful.  Combine your personal stress with leadership stress, and you have compounded the pressure. How do you deal with stress?

Ten Tips to Reduce Leadership Stress 

1. Prioritize! Don't try to get everything done at the same time. Attack the most important items first.

2. When you get interrupted by someone at work, put them on your schedule and tell them you will get back to them at an agreed-upon time. Maintain ownership of your own time.

3. Don't eat lunch at your desk, and don't bring work with you to lunch. Schedule some down time.

4. Use deep-breathing exercises or relaxation techniques to de-stress during the day. Go for a 20 minute walk every day.

5. Reduce the noise in your environment by shutting your office door if you have one. Take control of your environment.

6. Don't keep things bottled up. Let co-workers know if something they're doing is causing you stress. Address things calmly and professionally.

7. Eat right, sleep right and exercise regularly (with your doctor's permission).

8. Try leaving the radio off in your car on the way home. Many people find that the quiet helps them unwind and is a basic stress management practice.

9. When at home, don't dwell on work-related problems. Write them down, put them out of your mind and add them to your schedule the next day. Understand that there is a time and a place for everything.

10. Use peers and associates as a sounding board for discussing work-related issues and  minimize bringing issues into the family home.