Stress Management

“Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Stress Management Overview

All leaders are under stress; and all people are under stress. It is how this stress is managed that is key to whether stress is your enemy or your ally. Leaders must manage their stress level so that their performance is strong and they are an example to their peers and team members. Poor stress management may also lead to conflict or health problems. Leaders need work-life balance and the best leaders know when to turn off work stress and focus on their own self and family.

Why Stress Management is Important to a Leader

When a leader exhibits an unhealthy level of stress it affects their performance and the stress level of others. If the leader is worried and exhibits behaviors that convey their fear and uncertainty, team members will follow suit and it will affect their behaviors and possibly create a culture of unhealthy stress. There are simple techniques to manage stress – being organized, knowing your plan to achieve goals, and keeping things in Stress Managementperspective – all are important. In addition, we strongly recommend engaging in exercise or outdoor activities to maintain your health and perspective. We also recommend monitoring the stress management of your team members and taking steps to help those who suffer from poor stress management.

Benefits for the Leader

Having a healthy level of stress helps the leader be focused and give attention to the top priority items on his to do list. Stress management is also contagious and team members will often reflect the level of stress of their leader. Be aware of how well you are managing stress and take steps to keep it under control. You will be more productive, more focused, happier, and an excellent example to your team members.

Top 3 Coaches Recommendations for Stress Management
  1. Look for signs that your stress level is impacting your performance. Do you frequently lose your temper? Are you dismissive of others? Are you working harder but getting fewer results? Do you react poorly in difficult situations? Identification of a stress problem is the initial step in taking corrective action.
  2. Get organized. Set your goals and make progress toward them each day. Work to limit interruptions and inappropriate activities or meetings that consume time. Leaders who are organized are less susceptible to increased stress.
  3. If you are under a lot of stress in your personal life, consider how to compartmentalize your problems. When you arrive at work, tell yourself that you will return to your personal problems when work is completed. If your stressful situation is critical, talk to your leader about the situation. Even if your leader cannot help in the situation, they will be more understanding of how it can affect your performance for a period of time and may also be able to refer you to additional resources.
Measure and Improve Your Stress Management Skills

Be determined to improve your stress management skills and behaviors. Take the short stress management self-assessment on this page to identify where to improve your stress management skills and behaviors. Then, get more coaches’ recommendations in Chapter 24 of The Leadership Compass: Mapping Your Leadership Direction to help you fine-tune your stress management skills and behaviors.

Related Competencies:


Stress Management

Measure your stress management skills and behaviors!

Select your level of agreement with each statement in the self-assessment.
When answering the questions, consider how others might evaluate your stress management.


Recommended Stress Management Books:

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