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People express stress differently: some people get angry, some get exhausted and withdrawn, and others go into fight or flight mode.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

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11 Habits Of Emotionally Disciplined Leaders

There are no good or bad emotions per se. However, some emotional displays are more socially acceptable than others, depending on each individual’s socio-economic background, appearances and attached stereotypes.

For example, being spiteful and openly provoking someone is socially accepted. However, a person reacting to that provocation with anger is not.

Furthermore, in the workplace, you must leave your emotions at the door, and display a confident and positive attitude. Demonstrating that you are having a bad week will probably get you removed from the project.

When the pressure is on, organizations look to leaders to take action and to safely bring the organization out of hot waters. Leaders who are unable to step up to the plate will potentially be removed from their position.

As a leader, you must discipline your emotions, always have a clear head, continuously deal with challenges, give and receive feedback, keep your employees motivated and on task, even when you are tired or fed up.

Wondering how to discipline your emotions and improve your leadership skills?

11 Habits Of Emotionally Disciplined Leaders

What being emotionally disciplined means…

Emotional discipline is about being able to effectively manage your feelings. Being emotionally disciplined means that you are also able to:

  • Stay calm in challenging situations and overpower your own emotions. You can then deal with a tough situation, without making it worse.
  • Respond and not react to triggering events.
  • Gain more power over yourself and control yourself instead of being controlled.
  • Separate your inner voice from the outside noise.
  • Remain in the present, avoid dwelling on the past and obsessing about the future.
  • Decide and act how you want to really feel.
  • Acquire the freedom to express yourself freely and to engage in activities that make you happy.
  • Avoid getting tangled up in someone else’s web and positively interact with people. Let’s be honest, emotional discipline is useful to gracefully put people back in their place.
  • See people for who they really are and for how they really make you feel.
  • Gain new perspectives on your problems and navigate different situations.
  • Effectively address important and difficult issues.
  • Take advantage of a given situation and delay instant gratification for long-term rewards.
  • Possess several strategies to overcome most challenges.

Why discipline your emotions?

People will try your patience and your peace of mind on a daily basis in life and in the workplace.

The way you feel has an impact on your behavior, on the way you lead and the way you think. Your emotions also affect your health, your self-talk and your work performance.

Needless to say, becoming emotionally disciplined requires a lot of self-reflection, quiet moments with yourself and understanding that no one can harm you without your consent.

It requires growth, that you build up your resistance and become thick-skinned. It is not an easy nor an overnight process.

How leaders strengthen their emotional discipline?

Most people who possess emotional discipline are successfully placed in leadership positions because they are able to work through their own discomfort. To strengthen your emotional discipline, it is imperative to acquire the following habits.

#1. Leaders have a strong hold on their identity

They know their core values, their strengths and weaknesses. They also know where to apply them and they learn about themselves through their emotions.

In addition, they do not let stereotypes and assumptions define them.

#2. Leaders understand their triggers

This step is time-consuming because people might not want to immediately confront their emotions and they might resist the drive down memory lane.

When the pressure is on, leaders are able to quickly identify the origin of your emotions. They know their triggers, understand why that situation or this person is triggering them.

Furthermore, they don’t let anyone push their buttons or control them, they don’t react but they respond to negative behavior.

They navigate office politics well and they know how to deal with toxic people.

Remember, it is essential to not give the people who are triggering you satisfaction.

#3. Leaders stay on purpose

They have a goal and vision for their life.

They wake up in the morning ready to achieve their goals for the day and to make the right decisions for themselves.

#4. Leaders walk with integrity

They do what is right because doing the wrong thing requires too much emotional effort.

Moreover, they take accountability for their actions and don’t shift blame.

#5. Leaders stay in the moment

Most of the time, being in the moment will give you the opportunity to feel your emotional response and give you the appropriate response to any situation.

#6. Leaders identify the emotions that overcome them

If you cannot find the right words to describe your emotion, postpone your self-reflection until later, when you’re in a quiet place.

#7. If they can, leaders write down their thoughts on paper

This way, you will notice your thought patterns, illogical and irrational thoughts, the assumptions that you make, the systems of beliefs, the solutions to your situation, what you need to feel better and to clarify your situation.

#8. Leaders practice self-care

They work out regularly, eat well and do things that you enjoy.

In addition, they take the time to meditate, to quiet the noise in their minds, to improve their self-talk and to employ the power of positive affirmations.

#9. Leaders see people for who they truly are

Leaders are not only self-aware but they are aware of other people’s intention.

#10. Leaders have a strong support system

They have an emotional support system in place that helps them reason, that they go to regularly and that act as a sounding board.

They also surround themselves with people who are emotionally healthy.

#11. Leaders don’t take anything personally

To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, no one can harm you without your consent.

So, emotionally disciplined leaders look for solutions instead of dwelling on their circumstances, focus on the positive and don’t dwell on the negative.

Last Words Of Advice!

You cannot run from your emotions and project false ones. 

Eventually, they will catch up with you. One small insignificant incident can trigger and instantly download all the emotions that you haven’t dealt with.

Don’t be afraid of your emotions. They are there to help you and they will ease up once you have confronted them.

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.

Are You Successfully Managing A Healthy Work-Life Balance? — 26 Tips For Preventing Burnout

The workplace can help us realize your potential but it can also trigger fight or flight responses in us, bring out our innermost insecurities. At work, as leaders so many things threaten our career goals, our promotions, our desires for success, our relationships and most importantly our sanity.

Leaders constantly feel the pressures of keeping up, of always being on top of everything. It is even a requirement that leaders project confidence, demonstrate optimism, or remain stoic in the face of events.

However, sooner or later, we end up sacrificing what we value most, solely keeping up with appearances, looking busy but being unproductive, spreading ourselves thin, doing sloppy work and not caring about people.

Wondering what strategies to use to improve your well-being and work-life balance?

Healthy Work-Life Balance Preventing Burnout

What is work-life balance?

Work is part of life: we spend most of our waking hours at work more than anything else. Needless to say, work and life are not opposite nor are they inseparable: lack of work-life balance has direct repercussions on our health, finances and families, creates fatigue, poor judgement, poor performance, high emotions.

Creating work-life balance is not giving equal attention to both work and life. But, 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.

A healthy work-life balance can be motivated by life changing events or by a desire to do better. Work-life balance involves wise time management, self-discipline, and creates a better quantity to quality ratio.

Balancing work and life is hard but achievable because time is limited and we want to maximize our time the best we know how.

Benefits of a healthy work-life balance

A healthy work-life balance is an issue that mostly plagues millennials. To them, work should be enjoyable, emotionally and financially rewarding.

In many ways, it forces us to redefine success, our career and our relationships. It also helps us fulfill our needs, give us a profound sense of satisfaction, and become the best version of ourselves.

It allows you to create intention: you move with a clearly defined purpose. It is essential to manage your time and resources, level of commitment, to invest most of them in yourself and not in someone else’s dream.

It has the ability to increase job satisfaction, well-being, sense of self, self-awareness, effectiveness, adaptability, resilience, and creativity. It provides the tools to improve work performance, to revamp health, to maintain relationships, to appropriately deal with stress, and to avoid burnout.

How to create the best work-life balance?

Sometimes we are unable to distance ourselves from work because we feel indispensable to the organization, we feel threatened, or replaceable. Furthermore, achieving work-life balance is hard: some people, mostly high achievers, can feel guilty for taking time off and not investing it in their work.

However, an unhealthy work-life balance can lead to burn out, can trigger unexpected emotional outburst, heavily strain your physical and emotional well-being.

Burnout is hard to recover from. It hits you unexpectedly but is actually a slow burning process. Burnout is caused by overworking yourself, by a lack of recognition, by a lack of validation and chronic stress. It translates itself into feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness, dissatisfaction, despair, depressions, low self-esteem, feelings of being stuck and of failure.

In addition, it is detrimental to understand that living to work or sacrificing health and energy is not the way to succeed. To successfully create a healthy work-life balance:

  1. Take care of yourself first and boost your leadership self-esteem from time to time. It is cliché but it is true: when you fly on airplane, you must put your mask on first before assisting others.
  2. Be clear about your purpose. Identify the reasons why you are working, establish a personal mission statement or elevator speech.
  3. Take back control of your time, your energy, thoughts and happiness. Strangely enough, we choose the life we want to live. We chose yesterday the life we are living today.
  4. Be present and get out of autopilot mode. This will help you appreciate moments in your life and to think on your feet.
  5. Assess your strengths and weaknesses to figure out where and how to apply them, to know when and how to say no and to get the most out of work.
  6. Identify stressors, the things that fulfill you the most and those that don’t. What activities engage you the most? If your aren’t applying your strengths and interests at work, find areas outside of work to do so.
  7. Prioritize what matters most, avoid multitasking, pay attention to the vital few, keep your life simple and don’t be afraid of missing out.
  8. Align your daily activities in life and work with your values, principles.
  9. Set specific goals for yourself to increase motivation, to build up confidence and to stay focused.
  10. Be more disciplined. In order to make your life worthwhile, avoid distractions. This means that you have to shut down your phones, your television and avoid checking your emails outside of work.
  11. Be open to new opportunities, new experiences.
  12. Build real connections and learn to discern the authentic relationships by observing their actions.
  13. During the day, clear out at least one hour to relax and empty out your mind. Try meditation and a new sport. If it is not working, give yourself the space and the time to explore new things.
  14. Reduce your commuting time or avoid commuting during peak hours if possible.
  15. Dedicate more hours to sleep. Sleep is a cure for many diseases. It helps to eliminate bad toxins, to increase your focus and your job performance.
  16. Challenge your core habits and deal with change one at a time. Implementing a successful work-life balance can be overwhelming at first but it makes sense in the long run.
  17. Promote well-being in the workplace. Dedicate a specific space for work only, decorate your office with things you enjoy, be playful without being frivolous, show your employees that you take vacations and encourage them to do the same.
  18. Learn to delegate, to clearly communicate your requirements and to set boundaries. Setting boundaries help you gain respect from your employees.
  19. Stop focusing on analytics, metrics, meetings and deadlines to measure your self-worth.
  20. After work, reward yourself, leave work for the workplace and concentrate on your family and friends when you are with them.
  21. Help your employees understand that their health, well-being is more important to their productivity. That being said, monitor the most ambitious and driven employees to make sure they don’t burnout or literally work themselves to death.
  22. Value your employees and show your appreciation for their hard work.
  23. Don’t burden your employees with heavy workload and unreachable deadlines.
  24. Allow flexible hours and other activities in the workplace.
  25. Put the power of internet to good use and allow people to work from home. Employees working from home are more productive, have reduced commuting time, have less stress, are not constantly bothered by events in the office. It also allows the organization to save money on energy consumption and office space.
  26. Seek external help if needed.

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 Resilience In Leadership

Adversity comes from various sources at work: people, change, rumors, lies, conflicts, differences in values or beliefs, decisions taken beyond your control.

When feeling challenged or blocked, people react in different manner (passivity, hopelessness, anger, blame shifting, avoidance, etc …).

Hoping that life or work is made of only happy, positive moments is an illusion. If you are submerged with setbacks, learn to discreetly deal with them and with the emotions that they bring.

Wondering how to build up your resilience and face adversity head on?

Resilience In Leadership

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to function under pressure, to skillfully master stressful situations.

In addition, resilience is a mindset that focuses on the essentials and your personal growth. In fact, it changes your perspective on a tough situations, shifts the focus from our self to a goal or a purpose, and removes the pressures of running after success.

That being said, resilient leaders demonstrate similar behaviors, beliefs and values in challenging times. Resilient leaders:

  • Find opportunity in failure. Resilient leaders are unafraid to fail or to succeed. Furthermore, they don’t stay down when they have been put down.
  • Are able to draw strength from within and to survive ridicule, undermining, alienation, manipulation and what people say and think about you. They have a deep understanding of self and belive that they cannot be moved no matter the circumstances.
  • Face obstacles head on because they understand that pain is inevitable in life. They are pioneers, the firsts tp experience everything and to face obstacles before everyone.
  • Have faith that there is always a solution and that they will find a way. They remain optimistic in adversity, believe that it is just a phase of life and that they can create a positive outcome out of any situation.
  • Are accountable for their actions, don’t shift blame, don’t complain uselessly or make excuses for themselves. 
  • Are able to respond to the demands placed upon them.
  • Effectively manage time.
  • Set high standards for themselves.
  • Are willing to go through uncomfortable situations to get where they are going and understand that these situations are part of life.
  • Are selective of the people they surround themselves with and the people they look up to.
  • Have strong coping mechanisms.
  • Know that you are not the only one facing adversity.
  • Welcome change.

What are the benefits of resilience in leadership?

Moreover, resilience will determine how far you will go in your career or in life. On the long run, in the workplace, it helps you grow as a person, it increases job satisfaction, job performance, success and moral.

It is notorious that during challenging times, you become stronger, that you build up your character and discover your authentic self. Furthermore, you learn from your failures, you learn to do the right thing in wrong situations, even when nobody is looking.

How to build and boost personal resilience?

To measure resilience, it is important to look at a leader’s behavior, emotional response during challenging times. To build up your resilience and the resilience of your team:

  1. Recognize that you are only human and that you will make mistakes. Being human is not an excuse for purposefully making mistakes or for creating setbacks for yourself or for others.
  2. Be self-aware, self-efficient, and adaptable to any situations. This step is detrimental to identify your stressors and anticipate your reaction.
  3. Realize that everyone faces adversity and that behind every obstacle lies an opportunity.
  4. Change your perspective and see adversity as a challenge.
  5. Share positive experiences and values with people around you.
  6. Discern the essential from the rest. Then, commit to these essentials. If you haven’t committed to your essentials, trials will seem insurmountable.
  7. Invest your time and energy rightfully and purposefully. Make sure you persist and put your energy behind the right goals.
  8. Discipline yourself and your emotions to be able to work under pressure.
  9. Accept that there will be things that you cannot control.
  10. Take care of your mental health and find ways to evacuate the effect of negativity.
  11. Avoid taking setbacks or failures personally.
  12. Reinforce your coping mechanisms, find strong people to support you and seek a sounding board who can bring new perspectives on an issue.
  13. If all fails, turn over a new leaf.

How to build and boost resilience in your team?

Team members are always looking for reassurance. When they don’t have it, they monitor leaders behavior and can possibly start false rumors. To reassure them:

  1. Remember that your team observe you and rely on you the most. Therefore, demonstrate the behavior required for success and for overcoming adversity.
  2. Deal with employees that have made mistakes quickly, before they seem acceptable, and with a cool head. When emotions are high, it becomes difficult to think straight, to make the right decisions, and to behave professionally.
  3. Help your team identify the origin of the issue, different strategies for improvement, for the problem-solving process.
  4. Be as transparent as possible and let them understand the difficulty of the situations.
  5. Treat people with respect and not as commodities. For example, try listening to their concerns without emitting judgement.
  6. Provide trainings to your team and allow them t learn skills such as goal-setting, conflict resolution or decision-making and apply them with confidence.
  7. Provide tools to measure progress and to control the damage done to ensure that what brought up the problem does not recur.
  8. Congratulate them, reward them on successes.
  9. Avoid punishing or reminding people of their past mistakes.

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.