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A Heavy Burden: Dealing with the stress of leadership


Chronicles of Experience


Stress is part of every successful person’s everyday life.  It is the constant presence that motivates us to work harder and do better.  Stress is a sign of concern.  If you do not care about a job, project or loved one there would be no stress involved so do not be too quick to discount it.  Dealing with stress, especially when you are in a position of leadership, is vital to the success of your team and your future.  There is no ‘I’ in team, but there is a leader and sometimes that leader has to sort themselves out before moving forward.  Find that perfect middle ground between a burn-out and not caring at all.  Take stock of your stress.  Take a deep breath.



Showing Stress:

“I really don’t have time for this!” or “Please, I have a lot on my plate already!” are not things leaders should be saying.  You can and should show that you are busy and that you are putting a lot of work into whatever project you are stressing about, but never unburden yourself on others.  Do not let your stress bubble over and affect your role as a leader.  Stress can make team members lose faith in their leader or even allow them to doubt the possibility of success at all.  Be their rock.  Be their leader.

stress man


No use crying over spilt milk:

Stress is always going to be around and sometimes things go wrong.  Take a step back from the crisis and put it into perspective.  If the milk for the coffee has spilt over onto that important contract that has to be signed today what is more important?  If you panic too much you might not be able to salvage the situation.  Don’t let stress jumble your brain and send you speeding off to the nearest shop for milk.  Take a breath, reprint the contract and apologise for the spilt milk.  That’s all it is, after all.  A bit of milk on a bit of paper.  Keep your head.  Keep things in perspective.



Create a stress-free atmosphere:

As the leader, you are responsible for your own stress as well as the well-being of your team.  You need a full-proof way to keep them mellow after a very rough week.  Many studies, as well as my personal experience, have shown that laughter can quickly supply a much-needed break in tension.  Send out a few encouraging words along with a funny photo or video.  This will not only put that smile on their faces but also make you seem more approachable.  Laugh with them.  Laugh the stress away.


stress relief

funny de - stress

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