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How Leaders Can Cope with the Most Stressful Circumstances
Leadership stress is real. It can be a constructive force in small doses, but when it takes over your life, it sets you up to fail. Leadership coaching can teach you how to deal with stress. An executive coach can transform how you experience leadership and the stress that comes with it.
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James.
Stress is part of life. Throughout evolution, stress has helped humans survive dangerous situations, make healthy decisions, and choose battles wisely.
Stress can help improve our performances. It can enhance our problem-solving skills, creativity, physical fitness, and even our immune systems.
Once it exceeds a certain level and becomes perpetual, however, it no longer serves its evolutionary purpose.
The stress of leadership can drain leaders of energy, ruining their performances and rendering them liabilities to their organizations.
Stress can help you perform, but it can also drain you.
How Stress Impacts Leadership
Business coaching understands the positive and negative impacts stress can have on leadership. Leaders are responsible for settling disagreements, empowering and motivating employees, and making decisions in the best interests of their organizations in alignment with their values and purposes.
When they have too much on their plates, leaders expose themselves to the rumination and long-term stress that can take a toll on their mental and physical health.
- Stress hormones. Stress releases hormones in the body that can make you stronger, faster, and sharper. Adrenaline and cortisone give you a temporary superhuman boost. “Temporary” is the key word here, however. Your body cannot be in this state all the time. It is ill-equipped to operate in superhuman mode routinely. Adrenaline makes your heart race, and cortisol hinders the production of blood cells. Over the long term, elevated levels of these two hormones can cause severe health problems.
- Negative self-talk. Stressed-out leaders are more likely to fall into the trap of negative self-talk. They lash out at those around them and themselves, saying their negative thoughts out loud and increasing their harmful impacts.
- Impaired productivity. Stress and negativity take tolls on how you do your job. Employees need motivation, as do you. When you’re depressed or stressed, you can’t muster motivation, nor can you do your best to motivate others.
How Leaders Can Handle Stress
In my leadership coaching books, I’ve stated self-awareness and emotional intelligence are the cornerstones of intelligent leadership.
Self-aware leaders can observe their emotions, the impact of these emotions on their behavior, and the psychological reactions they trigger.
Using Self-Awareness Against Stress
Self-aware leaders recognize stress signals. They know when they’re stressed out and, hopefully, why stress has gotten the best of them.
Leadership coaching can help you develop self-awareness.
Once you know and understand your stress signals and how your body deals with them, it becomes easy to head off stressful situations or take control of your emotions as they’re about to spiral off.
Investing Time and Energy into Your Health
Physical exercise can boost your immune system and overall health, enabling you to deal with stress better.
Shaky mental health exposes you to negative effects of stress. Physical exercise is highly beneficial for your mental health and keeps you in good physical shape.
Hiring a Leadership Coach
Executive coaching can be a boon for stressed-out leaders. A leadership coach with whom you can connect mentally and emotionally can help you make sense of stressful situations, activate your self-awareness, and identify weaknesses that make you prone to stressing out.
A good leadership coach can completely transform how you see and experience leadership.
Identifying and Dealing with Stress Sources
Once you know the source of your stress, you can confront it head-on and terminate it. Stress can only get to you if you let it. You are the gatekeeper of your mind and emotions. While you can’t always deal with stress directly, it is perfectly reasonable to cease to accept it.
Intelligent leaders understand their limits and know how to avoid situations that can push them over the edge. Sometimes, they take steps back and relax. You can’t always be in top shape; if you believe otherwise, you invite stress into your life.