Quote Of The Week #73

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. - Albert Einstein

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11 Best Strategies For Leaders To Fight Workplace Stress

Have you ever noticed that no matter how much you are successful, how much you wish to be happy or to have peace of mind, life has a way of placing you in the same stressful situations?

That is because, until you have learnt to deal with these stressful situations, they will keep showing up.

For example, if you try to avoid someone who stresses you out, you will constantly run into that same person until you deal with your feelings about that person.

It is therefore important to learn how to cope with these situations and find the right methods to address your stress.

Wondering how to cope and effectively fight workplace stress?

11 Best Strategies For Leaders To Fight Workplace Stress

Why are leaders stressed in the workplace?

Stress is inherently part of life and stressed leaders have seemed to become the norm. Leaders are mostly stressed at work due to:

  • interpersonal conflicts,
  • poor time management,
  • poor work performance,
  • a lack of financial freedom,
  • drastic and sudden changes,
  • excess meetings, policies and procedures.

Stress has a direct impact on the corporate culture, on the leader’s leadership style, performance, and health.

People express stress differently: some people get angry, some get exhausted and withdrawn, and others go into fight or flight mode.

11 Best Strategies For Leaders To Fight Workplace Stress

There are several ways to remain calm under pressure, manage your stress and use it to your advantage.

#1. Be more self-aware & develop your emotional discipline

It becomes critical to always take a step back from a situation, seek deeper insights in your thoughts and behaviors to identify stress triggers, weigh out the outcomes of the situation. How important is this situation for you?

To be more self-aware and develop emotional disciplined:

  • Confront your painful situation and identify your triggers.
  • Identify your strength, weaknesses and limitations.
  • Be aware of the first physical symptoms of stress. Observe how your body responds to stress. During stressful times, some people are tense, can’t sleep, can’t eat.
  • Control your emotional reaction to the situation.
  • Write down the things that bother you.
  • Put a name to your emotions.

#2. Change your mindset

Your mind has everything to do with your behavior. To change your mindset:

  • See stress as a motivation.
  • Influence your brain to accurately interpret a high pressured situation. We have a tendency to distort situations through our lenses and either make them grander than they are.
  • Assume strictly positive outcomes of the stressful situation and speak positivity into reality.
  • Be open to new opportunities and new experiences.
  • Stay calm and positive. Positive attitudes can become difficult to maintain in challenging situations in the workplace. But once acquired, it is a habit that can help you overcome bad situations.
Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. - Hans Selye Click To Tweet

#3. Be grateful

No matter how hard it gets, you are still breathing. This means that you have one more day to change your situation and to create a better life.

To dispel stress:

  • Be grateful for your day to day.
  • Make a gratitude list to remind yourself of what you are thankful for.
  • Appreciate where you are in life, even where it’s not where you want to be.

#4. Prioritize & stick to the essentials

When deadlines are set and cannot be moved, when we are late we tend to stress out.

Prioritizing is all about honing your decisions making and time management skills in order to achieve more. To do so:

  • Understand that it’s OK to miss out on things.
  • Learn how to say no and to set boundaries.
  • Learn to prioritize. When you have your priorities in check, you are able to know what is essential, what you are able to handle in your work day and who you are able to see.
  • Apply the 80/20 principle.
  • Don’t try to be perfect.

#5. Create a better work-life balance

Your professional and your personal lives are tightly intertwined. Creating work-life balance is not giving equal attention to both work and life.

However, it means that you are satisfied with your contributions to your life and work, that you are able to create a sustainable synergy between both so that you are fueled by them on a daily basis.

To create a better work-life balance:

  • Don’t stay too long at work.
  • Don’t take your stress at home.
  • Take long drives before getting home.
  • Spend more time with family and friends.
  • Figure out if you can work from home.
  • Create a morning routine to kick off your day on the right foot.
  • Take care of yourself first and boost your leadership self-esteem.
  • Align your daily activities in life and work with your values, principles.

#6. Learn how to delegate 

Most leaders want to control people, do everything themselves, be on top of everything all at once and find it hard to delegate.

However, to remove stress due to work overload, it is important to learn how to delegate and automate some of your activities.

Delegating will allow you to take all the load off your shoulders. To delegate:

  • Demonstrate confidence in yourself and in your team.
  • Select experts in their field, clarify their roles, give them the authority to do their jobs, allow them to fail and to grow.
  • Create clear progress measurement tools and milestones.
  • Avoid micromanaging people but measure their advancement.

#7. Learn to communicate

Great communication skills will improve your leadership credibility, your self-confidence, your relationships with others, your feelings of belonging and will decrease your stress level.

They will also drive change and increase team motivation.

To decrease your stress level:

  • Learn to effectively communicate your grievances.
  • Remember that everyone is different and won’t communicate the way you do.

#8. Emotionally detach yourself from your job.

Obsessing about work is problematic and unhealthy. Most of the time, being emotionally attached leads to being sensitive to feedback and to being unable to see the bigger picture.

Unfortunately, most people who succeed are those who put in work and yet are detached from their work.

#9. Filter out your entourage

Leaders and employees have to make quick decisions while getting along with everyone, in multicultural contexts, with people from various backgrounds.

So, if your relationships brings you more stress than necessary:

  • Surround yourself with people you can trust. Build real connections and learn to discern the authentic relationships by observing their actions.
  • Confide in your mentor and ask for advice.
  • If you can, get rid of toxic coworkers or relationships.
  • Isolate yourself if needed. Sometimes, it is good  to remove yourself from society, to contemplate solitude in order to enjoy yourself, your thoughts.
  • If you are unable to avoid negative interactions, isolate the information that you need from the interaction. Write down that information and do not rely on memory or distorted thoughts.
  • Do not compete with people and stay focused on your job.

#10. Exercise and take regular breaks

Exercise and regular breaks will allow you to break your routine and mindless actions.

  • Plan your breaks.
  • Take time off to disconnect and enjoy your holidays.
  • Listen more than you speak to give your brain a break.
  • Make sure that your habits and exercise routine fit your lifestyle.
  • Do activities that you enjoy in the middle of the work day and on weekends.
  • Unplug from the internet and from your phone on your breaks and on the weekends.

#11. Let go & let God

At some point in life, you must:

  • Understand that you cannot control everything.
  • Control the controllable factors (like your reactions to the situation) and release what you cannot control. Worrying about people or events beyond your control is a waste of energy.
  • Know that your situation is temporary and that you will come through the other side. Meanwhile, be kind to somebody and help someone.

Last Words Of Advice!

Remember that, as a leader, people are closely monitoring your behavior.

They will be looking to you for inspiration and for a sense of calm in challenging situations.

Finally, make sure that your passion for your job outweigh your level of stress on the job. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to quit.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

New leaders get into leadership positions by demonstrating greater skills, higher levels of emotional intelligence, better expertise than the teams they were in.

However, for new leaders, mistakes are common and quasi inevitable.

Mistakes show you what you are made of, what you need to succeed, what you need to redirect your career, what you are missing to improve your character.

Wondering what are the common mistakes to avoid as a new leader?

Mistakes don’t directly lead to success but it can show you the way. It is best when they come to light rather than going unnoticed.

When mistakes are made, it makes sense for us to focus on what we have done right, on our strengths rather than our weaknesses.

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

#1. New leaders ego-trip

Some new leaders want to bring attention to themselves, to demonstrate their self-importance and their superiority.

They usually overstep their boundaries, put down their “subordinates” and come off as arrogant. It is safe to say that:

  • They lack self-confidence and self-awareness.
  • Their ego is fragile. They surround themselves with yes men and people who strike their ego.
  • They are entitled to their position and don’t understand that the position requires work and humility.

#2. New leaders power-trip

Leaders who power-trip lack humility and self-discipline.

They use their new position to impose their authority, to remind their “subordinates” that they have power over them and to exact revenge on coworkers that they didn’t like.

Needless to say, power tripping can damage trust and workplace morale.

#3. New leaders don’t deal with their imposter syndrome

New leaders let their imposter syndrome sabotage their efforts.

Leaders with imposter syndrome don’t believe that they are due to their position, don’t believe that they have succeeded thanks to their gifts.

Some of them are insecure, tend to feel like frauds and are afraid of being unmasked.

Some are overzealous. They want to do things their way, be the catalysts of change, challenge the status quo almost immediately.

Some overwork, they show off their skills and try to prove themselves.

Others expect perfection and not excellence.

#4. New leaders don’t know who they are

New leaders are generally unaware of who they are, how they are seen, how they should contribute and of what they now represent.

That is because new leaders:

#5. New leaders don’t update their mindset

Becoming a leader is a long and never-ending process.

However, new leaders have to quickly update their mindset to keep up with their teams.

They have to change their focus from frontliner to strategist, to doing from ordering, to performing a task to planning meetings.

Firstly, they must make a pact with themselves to grow and to improve.

Secondly, they must constantly monitor their words, attitudes and actions.

#6. New leaders don’t understand the requirements of their position

Leadership is not about the title or the position. It is about character, attitude and influence. New to their roles, most leaders:

  • Don’t grasp that being a boss, being a manager and being a leader are different.
  • Think “position” automatically implies “authority”.
  • Don’t understand their job description.
  • Don’t fully understand or commit to their role.
  • Fail to see the bigger picture.
  • Get overwhelmed by their positions.
Leadership is not about the title or the position. It is about character, attitude and influence. - Vanessa Sylvester Click To Tweet

#7. New leaders stop learning

Even though new leaders think that they can handle their position with their old skills and their old knowledge, most of them don’t have the necessary skills to be a leader.

New leaders face new responsibilities that they don’t have the skills for and :

  • Are too afraid to ask questions and to ask for help.
  • Take too long before initiating leadership training.
  • Have to learn new skills quickly, autonomously, and most importantly apply them.

#8. New leaders stick to traditional leadership styles

Autocratic and commanding leadership styles, though common and easy, are outdated, are rigid, and don’t work anymore, especially with millennials.

People are more comfortable and are able to perform at their best with a democratic leadership style.

Today, millennials expect validation, recognition, rewards, a more deconstructed workplace that is fun, relaxed, motivational yet productive and structured.

They want to understand their role, the impact of their contributions at work, to be involved in the decision-making process, to learn continually and to own their work.

#9. New leaders don’t cater to their past and present relationships

Some leaders stop valuing people, start ignoring their teams and their past relationships. Instead, they tend to:

  • Disconnect from their teams. For instance, they don’t listen to their team and don’t measure their words.
  • Avoid conversations, small talk and nurturing new relationships.
  • Avoid collaboration and do everything themselves.
  • Focus on the results.

Leaders who don’t focus on people are seen to be snobs, insensitive, inattentive.

Dismissing relationships can easily create misunderstandings and conflicts because people have no barometer to measure your intentions, speech or behavior.

#10. New leaders run away from conflicts

New leaders aim to please at first. They sugarcoat, don’t address awkward dynamics, avoid conflicts, run away from difficult conversations, want to be liked and not respected.

They don’t speak up when they have to. For example, they don’t communicate expectations don’t correct employee mistakes when they have to, are no longer transparent because they are afraid of judgement and of losing their position.

In addition, they comply too often because they are not confident about their abilities.

Even if it is sometimes wise to avoid conflict, this strategy is not sustainable.

#11. New leaders shut down dissenting voices

New leaders must get comfortable with people who cause dissent even though the latter are natural catalysts, and easily take risks.

Dissenting voices within the organization usually have a bad reputation.

They are not welcomed in groups, go against the grain, are seen as not playing by the rules, are stifled, are the ones that end up being fired.

#12. New leaders don’t delegate

At entry level, we want to control people, do everything ourselves, be on top of everything all at once and find it hard to delegate.

Some leaders don’t know how to delegate, don’t want to delegate or just find it plain hard to do so. Indeed, it is a hard task because it requires that they:

  • Give instructions to their employees.
  • Have faith in the workers, be comfortable depending on others and believe that the work will be up to standards.
  • Have confidence in their personal abilities and do not be afraid of being upstaged.
  • Do not feel guilty that they are giving too much work to their employees because they were once in their place.

#13. New Leaders fail to navigate office politics

They don’t fully understand the politics at work and don’t take time to grasp it.

It is important that they:

  • Address internal conflicts and discontinue previous leadership issues.
  • Stay aware of the new power struggles. Indeed, they will be compared to previous leaders and compare themselves to previous leaders, have to deal with jealousy and insubordination at first, have to face judgement and backlash from their coworkers.
  • Avoid talking negatively about the previous leader, gossiping about their coworkers with the coworkers.
  • Do not try to belong to a group in particular or try to be friends with their former colleagues.

#14. New leaders don’t take accountability for their actions

They don’t take accountability for their own actions.

Instead, they tend to shift blame, find a scapegoat, are afraid of the words “I don’t know”.

Furthermore, they take credit and don’t shine light on their high performing employees.

Last Words Of Advice!

Mistakes are inevitable, are a factor for change and for:

  • Humbling us and discovering our authentic selves.
  • Exhibiting our vulnerabilities, limitations and blind spots.
  • Showing us what works and what doesn’t.
  • Removing us from our comfort zones.
  • Helping us prioritize and go to the essentials.
  • Teaching us to forgive and to be less hard on ourselves, how to explore and experiment in life, how to learn and change.
  • Making us more resourceful, more resilient, more self-disciplined and building our problem solving skills.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

15 Signs It’s Time To Quit Your Job

Though people have to be financially responsible, they give themselves the opportunity to explore and to search for a job that will make them happy.

Needless to say, quitting your job is a big decision, an exciting yet scary endeavor.

On one hand, we remember that we have to survive and pay the bills. On the other hand, we no longer have to put up with bad decisions, poor workmanship and slow processes.

Wondering how to recognize when it’s time to quit your job and how to effectively develop an exit strategy?

15 Signs It's Time To Quit Your Job

People give themselves the opportunity to explore and to search for a job that will make them happy. Click To Tweet

15 Signs It’s Time To Quit

Sometimes, we are in way over our heads, other times we just want to collect that paycheck and nothing else. It becomes hard to notice the signs that it’s time to quit.

You know it’s time to quit when:

#1. You Desperately Look For Reasons To Quit

Your job has become a problem and is weighing heavy on your shoulder. You feel it in your bones and your desire to quit roams your brain all day.

At this point, anything would justify your desire to quit.

If you don’t get your morning coffee, then it’s time to quit.

If your train runs late, then it’s time to quit.

If there is too much traffic today, then it’s definitely time to quit.

#2. You Believe The Grass Is Greener On The Other Side

You are low-key envious of people who quit their job and who start their own business ventures.

#3. You Are Burnt Out

When it’s time to quit, your intuition will usually let you know in advance that something is wrong.

If you don’t pay attention to your intuition, your mind ill start to go in overdrive.

Finally, your body will suffer the repercussion.

You are burnt out if:

  • You are doing your best on the job but your best doesn’t seem to be enough.
  • You don’t have the energy or the time to do your work.
  • Your physical health suffers. working out doesn’t help anymore and you have probably put on weight.
  • You don’t pay attention to your personal grooming.

#4. You Require A Better Work Life Balance

You bring your job home and incessantly complain about it.

You don’t take care of yourself or your family.

You believe that you deserve a better work-life balance.

#5. You Are Depressed Every Sunday Night

Sunday nights are extremely depressing because you remember your past week and  because you dread Monday mornings.

#6. You Are Underperforming

You are underperforming and are making too many mistakes on things that you used to be good at.

You have been unable to reach deadlines, to defend your progress and perspectives.

You constantly look for distraction from your work environment whether you are on or off the job.

Furthermore, you don’t care about your workplace performance, your reputation, your well-being, the opinion of your coworkers, and the respect for our boss is gone.

#7. You Are Undervalued And Underutilized

You feel underappreciated and are bored to death.

You have no voice within the organization.

You don’t feel like your strengths and weaknesses are being adequately used.

#8. You Take Too Many Breaks

You have been absent and keep taking more absence leaves that you used to.

Basically, you cannot wait for the day to end.

You plan your breaks, your lunches and your vacations before you even start your workday. You obsess about your vacations and your mental health depends on them.

You go to the bathroom too often and take too many calls out of your office.

#9. You Just Don’t Fit In

Working gives us the means to survive and is quasi inevitable.

You need more freedom to express yourself and the company culture does not allow your form of expression.

#10. Your Job Does Not Align With Your Life Purpose

You spent time studying for a degree, graduated and your college degree doesn’t match your job description.

In addition, you don’t understand your task, get no satisfaction from doing your job and you start questioning the purpose of your job.

#11. You Cannot Project Yourself In The Future

There are no growth opportunities to evolve, to move towards a new position, to learn new skills.

You cannot project yourself in the future because you have other plans for your future, your leadership vision is not being executed, your life is changing but your salary isn’t, your colleagues are getting better paid than you do or because you have been passed up for promotion too many times.

#12. Your Social Life Is Affected

Your social life is stunted and your relationships are strained.

You don’t want to bring up work with your friends and family.

Conversations about work with people you enjoy depress you, project you in negative thoughts and negative emotions overwhelm you.

You are not a complainer but you start complaining NON STOP about your job. You bring up the subject with whomever even when it doesn’t matter.

#13. The Ethics On Your Job Are Questionable

You work in a toxic environment:

  • Your higher-ups and your organization generally lack ethics.
  • Your core leadership values don’t align with those of your organization.
  • You experience an emotional rollercoaster daily.
  • You are perpetually in fight or flight mode. You are either looking for conflict or hiding from everyone and everything.
  • You are being bullied, your self-esteem is continually being attacked and your ethics are daily challenged.
  • You suddenly cannot stand your colleagues and find faults in everything that they do.

#14. Your Leader Is Out Of Control

Employees don’t leave a job, they leave bad bosses. 

You don’t admire or respect your leaders. You don’t ask them for advice anymore and question their decisions.

#15. Your Organization Is Laying People Off

Your organization is facing serious financial difficulties and you think that you will get laid off.

You have to financially take care of yourself and quit.

There are two options after quitting your job: either you find another one or you create one. Just remember that not all workplaces are the same.

Developing An Exit Strategy

Sometimes, we have reached our limits and it’s time to quit. However, it’s always important to develop an exit strategy.

  1. Examine your mental, physical and emotional health.
  2. Take time off to think about yourself. Identify your core values, your purpose, your strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Evaluate your motivations to stay on the job. Look around for clues that it’s time to quit your job. You can do a pros and cons list.
  4. Think about the consequences of leaving your job.
  5. Plan your future before quitting. It is imperative that you:
    • Analyze your skill sets and check which ones you wish to develop.
    • Find out which field you wish to work in and discuss it with people who are in your field of preference.
    • Proactively look for another job. Keep looking for job and applying online while you are still employed. It is recommended to discreetly find a new job before moving on to the new one.
    • Pick your next profession with care.
    • Build a solid vision.
    • Prepare yourself for the next opportunity and get rid of past baggage.
  6. Be comfortable with change and embrace the unknown.
  7. Speak to your close friends and family about your decision. Ultimately, you know what is best for you.
  8. Be confident in your decision, acknowledge that there is no shame in quitting and understand that there is no perfect time to quit.
  9. Leave on good terms even though you hated your job.

Last Words Of Advice!

Quitting your job doesn’t mean being jobless, giving up on yourself or that you have failed altogether. During the quitting process, it is detrimental to grow internally, to keep yourself busy and stay on purpose.

Furthermore, you can either go after your dreams or help someone else build their own.

If you don't build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.” Tony Gaskins Click To Tweet

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

The Importance Of Identifying & Strengthening Your Core Leadership Values

All leaders must identify and set their core values before accepting a leadership position, before developing an organization or before joining a company culture.

Leaders with strong core values induce an ethical and healthy workplace.

However, when leaders lack character, they create conflict, mistreat employees, belittle customers, focus on results rather than build healthy relationships, allow sabotage and aggressive below the belt office politics. Subsequently, they then create a toxic environment.

Wondering how to identify and strengthen your core values?

The Importance Of Identifying and Strengthening your Core Leadership Values

What are core values?

Core values are principles that build your character and that define who you are deep down.

They are fundamental beliefs that guide you in life and at work, that drive your behavior and that gather things about you that you truly care about.

Core values are based on your culture, your systems of beliefs and what you learnt from your childhood.

In addition, core values guide leaders in any environment and in every situation.

They are principles by which leaders and organizations operate. They are transmitted to employees via the corporate culture, are shared from one generation to another.

Core values are principles that build your character and that define who you are deep down. Click To Tweet

At Journey To Leadership‘s, we believe in:

  1. Leadership. We want to lead by example, lead with character, motivate people to achieve a unique vision and teach people how to lead with integrity.
  2. Living to learn. We do not assume that we know everything, we give ourselves the opportunities to explore and to ask questions that challenge the status quo.
  3. Creativity & InnovationWe welcome change, embrace innovative ideas, love taking risks and bringing new products to make the world a better place.
  4. Purpose & Ambition. We invite people to aim high, to walk in their purpose and to stay focused.
  5. Candor. We encourage transparency, authenticity and speaking truth to power. We reward people for speaking up and for speaking the truth.
  6. Patience. We promote patience, being slow to anger and seeking understanding.
  7. Fairness. We do not discriminate, we are equal opportunity leaders, we believe in making fair decisions and treating everyone equally
  8. Diversity. We are culturally sensitive, respect diversity and believe that difference is good.

Why define your core leadership values?

Core values must be carefully chosen, based on our personal needs and wants.

Core values make life more satisfying and more meaningful, they are a lifetime commitment. Core values must help you:

Consolidating your leadership values requires hard work, determination, daily practice and self-discipline. In general, core values are hard to maintain but are worth the struggle.

How to identify your core leadership values?

Core values make life more satisfying and more meaningful, they are a lifetime commitment To identify your core leadership or organizational values:

  1. Find out how you would describe yourself.
  2. Examine if you are satisfied with the current state of your life and what you love or hate the most.
  3. Identify your strengths, weaknesses and blind spots.
  4. Think about what you would do if you were financially free and had no cares in the world.
  5. Analyze which workplace you thrive best and feel your best in.
  6. Evaluate your greatest accomplishments.
  7. Observe where and with whom you wish to spend your time.
  8. Identify what you cannot live without.
  9. Understand the lessons you have learnt from your failures.

To strengthen your core leadership values?

  1. List your core values, write them down and give examples of your core values in action. Everyone has a list of at least 5 values that they hold on to, that facilitate their responsibilities and ease their problems.
  2. Remind yourself daily of your core values through a vision board or positive affirmations.
  3. Align all your decisions with your core leadership values. When your values don’t align with your decisions, you start feeling uncomfortable, emotionally triggered and in conflict with yourself.
  4. Communicate your core values to your employees. A company without core values is a toxic environment.
  5. Put your values to the test in life, at work and within your organization. Core values often show themselves when we face adversity. If someone tells you or forces you to believe that life is unfair and you wholeheartedly rebel against that thought, then your core value is definitely fairness.
  6. Empower other people to find their own core values.

Last Words Of Advice!

Leaders must be convinced of their vision and committed to their core values.

However, some core values are harder to apply than others. They demand more effort than others. So, don’t give up!

 

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.