As the future of work continues to transform in dramatic ways due to the rise of machine learning and other advancements in tech, it’s likely that many individuals in leadership positions may be dealing with unparalleled levels of pressure and stress on leadership. Thankfully, there are a number of effective techniques that leaders can consider to help them remain effective at work.
Depending on the person, the effectiveness of these techniques can vary greatly and what might work for one individual might prove a waste of time for another. Techniques and strategies may include keeping a journal or taking up yoga classes. They may also include far more unconventional relaxation methods like perusing sugar daddy sites or investigating the hidden benefits of deprivation tank therapies.
There’s no denying the fact that high levels of stress can have lasting negative effects on mood and productivity. No matter how a person finds stress relief in the modern, fast-paced digital age of work, it’s essential to first understand the impact that excess stress may have on a person and identify personal triggers before deciding on a method that is likely to work best.
Understanding the Impact of Stress on Leadership
It’s a well known fact that prolonged stress can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of employees at every level. Individuals asked to perform and make challenging decisions are far more likely to make mistakes due to the impaired cognitive function that high amounts of stress can cause.
The effects of stress on leadership can have a much more profound impact on the effectiveness of upper-management and team leadership positions, as the emotional volatility of these individuals can cause breakdowns in communication and interpersonal relationships. When leaders are anxious or under pressure, their overall ability to adapt to changes or convey reasonable expectations to their teams, may be compromised.
The poor choices and outcomes associated with stress can have a knock-on effect that can contribute a toxic work environment and an increase in instances of burnout. To reduce conflict and avoid the many other long-term negative effects stress can have on teams, as well as leaders and organizations as a whole, it’s essential for leaders to manage stress levels before it becomes a problem.
1. Identifying the Sources of Stress on Leadership
In order for members of leadership teams to effectively avoid burnout, it’s crucial to positively identify the source of their anxieties and tension. When these sources are properly understood, it can be much easier to develop successful strategies that will help mitigate their harmful effects.
Some of the most common work-related sources of stress include unmanageable workloads, an inability to effectively delegate or communicate and the pressures associated with meeting demanding shareholder expectations.
It’s important to comprehend that stress on leadership can also be caused by factors outside of a traditional work environment. Health, family and relationship issues can naturally compound feelings related to stress, not to mention the consistent exposure to an overload of negative information on popular social media sites that can also contribute to the underlying issue.
2. Maintaining Healthy Habits
The most effective way to permanently reduce feelings of tension and avoid the possibility of burnout is to make changes to every day routines, as well as maintain healthy habits that prioritize emotional well-being. These changes and shifts in behavior can be made in an office setting or at home and should focus on implementing a range of positive coping mechanisms that are sustainable in the long term.
For example, eating a balanced diet that avoids an excess intake of sugar and caffeine, ensuring a healthy sleep schedule is maintained and finding ways to engage in regular exercise should do the trick. That said, neglecting physical health and choosing to only engage in self-care activities will negatively impact the effectiveness of these relaxation techniques.
To ensure self-care activities designed to alleviate stress like journaling negative feelings, practicing yoga or listening to meditative podcasts, actually reduce stress, consider limiting time spent on social media sites and exposing yourself to other sources of negativity. Also, consider taking up slow hobbies that require focus and patience to help the mind relax and recharge.
3. Balancing Work and Personal Life
Maintaining productivity and effectiveness in work environments involves finding the right balance between personal and professional responsibilities. To do this, leaders should find ways to set boundaries and allocate reasonable amounts of time to focusing on both areas of their lives.
At the end of every work day, avoid the temptation of checking emails when possible and find the time for relaxing with family and friends, as social connections can greatly reduce stress levels.
Challenges in Implementing Stress-Relief Techniques
It’s important to keep in mind that techniques that prioritize stress-relief will not bring immediate changes. Depending on how stressed a person is when they begin to make lifestyle changes, stress-relief techniques may not suffice.
In that case, seeking out professional help may be required. If simple changes to routine, behavior and diet don’t seem to be helping, it may be worthwhile to book an appointment with a counselor or therapist to help remedy the issues that resulted from long-term stress.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, which is why you must understand that the road to finally overcoming stress on leadership for good can be long and difficult. Remember that it’s not a sign of weakness to seek support from loved ones or medical professionals. Not just that but sometimes an extended break from the pressures of work might be the only solution that will help you finally shake uncomfortable or overwhelming feelings that are common in stressful work environments.