Stress can wreck even the most effective leaders’ game face. But what we do in times of stress can be as natural as breathing and if we completely suppress those natural reactions to stress, it simply amplifies them and makes them stronger when they do come out and they will 🙂 So how can you lead more effectively during times of stress? Try these simple solutions and practice, practice, practice.
Consider Time Lapsed Reactions
Time lapsed photography takes an image and captures it over time, overlapping images on top of one another to create one larger picture. When you’re stressed you lose sight of the big picture usually and it can pay off well to step back, and slow down the reactions, until you can see more clearly.
Consider Cleaning Your Lens
Some time ago I wrote a blog post about the lens you are looking through. Sometimes it’s like tin foil, sometimes like saran wrap and sometimes opaque brown paper. What is your lens looking like and are you making snap decisions or irrational judgments or communications based on a clouded or covered lens?
Remind Yourself of the Temporary Nature of Stress
Do you remember the last time you were having a complete nuclear come apart? Do you remember what it was about or just the feelings you had or none of it? Chances are as time passes you remember less and less and if you can catch yourself when times are tough or stressful and remind yourself that they won’t be this way forever, often you can alter your reaction. Besides, if it isn’t something you’ll remember 3 days from now, is it really worth creating three weeks of damage control over?
Stress is part of life and there’s good stress (eu-stress) and bad stress (distress). Both are necessary and can be motivating, but they can also be debilitating. How you handle stress however, is a sign of how well developed a leader you are and how others around you will pick up on your cues and lead themselves as well as others in the future.
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.