A lot of my Leadership Coaching clients come to their sessions and report feeling so stressed out that they are having trouble focusing on what they need to accomplish.
That’s hardly surprising.
How Stress Impacts Leadership
Stress can be a silent, invisible killer of your leadership performance. Truth is, you can’t just ignore it and hope it will go away. In fact, the more you refuse to tackle it head on, the more it cripples your ability to “be present” and effective in your leadership role. To handle it, however, you have to be able to identify its root causes.
Amanda, a professional at an electronics firm, started her leadership coaching feeling completely overwhelmed.
Taking advantage of the safe space created by the coaching relationship, she agreed to address the stress points that she had been afraid to acknowledge. The list included:
- concerns about her newly hired boss and how it might affect her job;
- challenging conversations she needed to have at work and was avoiding;
- on the home front, incomplete conversations with her husband and challenges with her young child.
Fears As Underlying Stressors
Now, as it often happens, most of Amanda’s stress points were caused by her inaction due to fear; fear of initiating difficult conversations and facing some challenging situations. The fears had created a bottleneck and had become so energy draining that she was unable to focus properly on her leadership role.
We decided that she should address the stressors one at a time and brainstormed different approaches she might use to overcome each issue.
At her next coaching session, Amanda reported being much calmer. She had embraced several of the challenging conversations at work and even found them to be much easier than she had anticipated. She was pleased with how she had handled them and noticed how relieved she was now that she had put them behind her. Her new boss had started his job and she was cautiously optimistic that he would be good for the organization and her own career development.
Do you feel like stress is crippling your ability to lead? If so, take some time to identify your 3-5 biggest stressors. Discuss your fears with an objective listener. Come up with a few different approaches for each issue and address them one at a time.
I guarantee that you will feel less overwhelmed once you move into deliberate action.