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Executive Stress!

by Sharon Gayle August 4, 2010

According to the National Institutes of Health, “people who feel more in control at their jobs tend to feel less stressed out.”

While Executives and Senior Leaders have more control of their work, they manage employees who feel that they have less or no control; which makes them stressed out.
Employees in general are feeling more anxious and stressed. They’re worried about lay-offs, wage freezes, and reduction in benefits. If they are in an organization where there has already been a reduction in the workforce, they can become fearful of what will happen in the future.

As an executive, you must manage your own stress and simultaneously know how to lead your staff who may be having a hard time focusing on their work due to various stressors.

Your Responsibilities

As a leader you may feel responsible for your employees and your organization to the detriment of your own health. At the same  time you need to look confident and calm so that you do not pass your stress onto everyone else.  This is similar to what a parent might do at the loss of his or her spouse.  Though they suffer with the loss, most parents try not to show such raw emotion in an effort to stay strong (looking) for the children.

Prevent the Cycle

The above pattern can become a stressful cycle; however, there are actions you can take.

  • Learn and utilize self-talk to keep yourself focused and prevent or stop negative thinking. Consider bringing in an outside consultant to teach your employees or use internal resources if available.
  • Learn and practice basic stress management exercises that involve breathing in order to relax during the day and rejuvenate your mental, physical and emotional energy. If you appear relaxed it will help your employees.
  • Speak to other senior leaders to vent and share best practices for stress solutions.

I have worked with many executives and can tell you that executive stress is real, you are not alone. Being a stressed out executive is not a reflection on your leadership abilities, however, not doing anything about it can negatively impact your focus, productivity and profit. No company can afford that! ~SG.

Reference: NIH, National Institutes of Health - www.NIH.com