Have you every wondered if it is worth the hassle of taking on the responsibilities that come with being a leader? Have you ever got to the end of a very demanding day and thought, even for a moment, that you would prefer to just be “one of the team” again?
The higher you get in your career ladder the more responsibilities you have. This also means additional work, bigger challenges and higher levels of pressure. One of the results from the APEX 2012 Work and Health Survey shows that the number of executives reporting that most days are “extremely stressful” or “quite stressful” is at 51%. Surveys show that being a Corporate Executive for both private or publicly-held companies is among the top 10 most stressful jobs of 2014.
Increasing stress is one of the main downsides of taking on higher responsibility. If this stress is not well managed it will impact negatively on your performance and your health. Over time this will make it harder to keep dealing with all the challenges of leadership. It is important to make sure you are well equipped to deal with the pressures of leadership so that you do not “suffer” stress.
You can improve your overall resilience and ability to cope by taking care of yourself. Don’t be “all work and no play”. It is important that you maintain a healthy personal life that includes exercise, eating healthy food, good sleep, and lots of great activities with family or friends. It is also important that you do not spend too much time at work or take your work home with you… your brain needs a break to make sure it can perform at it’s best. Just take a few moments to check if you are taking care of all the important areas of your life.
One of the main pressures of leadership is “people management”. It is important that you do a bit of a “self assessment” and check if you have had the opportunity to develop your people skills to the level you need to get the best out of your team and build a great working environment. Take a look at how you relate to your team and also to others you need to work with in the organisation. You need to be able to build strong working relationships. The number one strategy for improving relations within your team is frequent positive communication. Listening is the number one skill to implementing this strategy.
Finally you need to make sure that you have all the skills you need to work efficiently yourself. There are many competing demands that all have to be managed and it is easy to loose sight of what is important when there are not enough hours in the day and there is no point adding to this pressure by not sorting out your own work systems or priorities.
If you think you need help with any of these areas then make sure you either find it yourself or ask you organisation for support. One of the things we value most in our teams is when people are able to show initiative… so if you need to develop any of these areas to move forward as a leader then …. Take the initiative and design your own development program.
Making changes is more difficult if you area already stressed so prevention or early management of stress (for you or your team) is very important. Here’s an infographic on the signs and symptoms of stress that you shouldn’t ignore:
The Positive Productivity Network is now open for membership to those leaders who want to find the right tools and resources to help them not just be efficient but also to develop them in handling the challenges and pressures of management.
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