One of the main reasons that we as leaders don’t keep our word and do what we say we’ll do, is our difficulty in coping with the ever-demanding pressures and demands put on us. In my work with clients from a wide range of business sectors, the mantra today seems to be, get more done, better, faster, with less resources and with with a more demanding customer. Most leaders try to manage stress ( i.e. deal with the symptoms), this is a waste of time. If we don’t deal with the cause, we will forever deal with the symptoms.
When I crashed and burned with stress (see post ‘why it’s important for leaders to keep their word and do what they say they’ll do’), 4 things were paramount in bringing my stress on:
- Not knowing the difference between what I could and couldn’t control – What are the things that currently receive too much of your attention at work and at home that you have no influence over, regardless of how much you stress and worry about them?
- I tried to be ‘master of the universe’ – I put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own. I had PTH (a propensity to help), it got me into other people’s business and made the assumption, they couldn’t help themselves and / or wouldn’t request the help they needed.
- I worried about being liked rather than being respected – Too often I confused the need to be liked with the need to be respected. I realized as a leader, I can’t go through life being afraid to offend!
- Being a perfectionist – The question I needed to ask myself was, have I done the best I could, with the time and the resources that I had?
The value of a leader with the ability to perform well under pressure cannot be over-estimated in a world where constant pressure is the norm. We need to stop trying to manage stress, instead look at what is bringing it on and deal with this.
Your challenge for this week: what are you going to change to ensure you deal with the causes of stress more effectively?