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Can You Be an Effective Leader When You’re Under a Lot of Stress? | Extraordinary Business

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Even the most successful individuals in the world of business experience stress – some would even argue they encounter more. Based on a survey presented by Online Recruitment Magazine, 67% of business leaders struggle with stress and emotional instability. Moreover, they also shared that 42% of managers are too focused on work causing them to be unable to consciously take control of their own thoughts and emotions.

Employees often look towards their superiors to assess the current situation in the company. Inevitably, they will be affected negatively if their boss seems mentally and/or emotionally unstable. In extreme cases, it can impact the entire operation. This is why stress is seen as a major hindrance in most industries. Forbes Magazine noted that it even leads to less productivity, citing The Global Benefits Attitudes’ survey which saw employee disengagement as a direct effect of too much stress.
Among the many possible causes of stress, inadequate staffing is a major contributor. U.S. employers cite it as the second largest cause of workplace stress, right behind a loss of work-life balance.
“If business leaders want to promote a lower stress environment in their workplace, it’s vital they understand the real causes of stress in their organization,” says wellbeing specialist Rebecca Haymes. However, a little stress might be conducive a competitive working environment. And maybe it’s about getting the right balance: Bloomberg argues that stress has become an indelible part of life, stating that it only varies in terms of levels. They claim stress can actually be a good thing, making you more focused and competitive in the workplace if managed well.
With all that in mind, here are some tips to take control of stress and retain your effectiveness as a leader.
Reflect on your leadership skills honestly
Menlo Coaching suggests assessing your leadership qualities objectively, and question how well you’ve performed in your current position. Through this exercise, it’s easier to see what may have been making you prone to more stress while pointing out your assets as a leader. In addition, you get to address what you like and fear most in undertaking such an important position.
Stay organized
Take a cue from Jack Dorsey of Twitter, who was identified by Business Insider as someone that manages stress well while holding down a very important position. His tip is to stick to a schedule as faithfully as you can. The CEO is able to deal with stress better by staying organized with his weekly flow of meetings and activities. He says that consistency is key in inviting less stress into your workplace.
Face your fears
More often than not, stress leads to anxiety. With a fear of anxiety, professionals tend to take less risks and get complacent – especially those in high positions. This can also lead to them stagnating and not growing in their role.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, explains that overcoming fear led him to where he is today. He proclaims that fear of failure shouldn’t have to stop people from trying. Like Musk, you can also compose yourself and make decisions that would help you overcome adversity at work by being bold enough to face difficult decisions head on and take on challenging tasks.
Realistically speaking, taking on the big responsibility of being a leader almost always includes exposing yourself to more stress. However, you don’t have to let it overcome your ability to function professionally, or even personally for that matter. The famous industry leaders mentioned above have shown that you can still be an effective leader even when under a lot of stress.
Jen&Leadership is an organizational development specialist and consultant who has written for and collaborated with over 30 companies. She’s now writing a book about unlocking the maximum potential of employees through the right training programs.
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