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People express stress differently: some people get angry, some get exhausted and withdrawn, and others go into fight or flight mode.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

Annual Performance Reviews are often dreaded by most employees.

It is the time of the year where we often get offended, where leaders realize that they don’t really understand what is going on in their organization.

In addition, most employees believe that their performance review is inaccurate and biased. It has been shown that it doesn’t help employees improve their performance reach their greatest potential, or grow personally.

That is because, performance reviews:

  • Are given annually which is insufficient. Indeed, mistakes have time to fester for a whole year.
  • Don’t provide enough details. The annual performance review tracks a few of our skills and take snapshots of our behaviors.
  • Take into account only one person’s point of view.
  • Cross-examines someone with different sets of sills with defective criteria.

Wondering how to adequately give and receive feedback?

Providing & Receiving Positive Feedback

The ability to give and to receive feedback is essential to success and to being a great leader. It is a personal development tool and a skill that can be learnt.

What is constructive feedback?

Feedback is the general way you perceive people, is a shared appreciation of a person and of a situation.

Furthermore, feedback is constructive criticism, challenges the way you think about yourself and aims to see people improve and become their best selves. It is the desire for employees to perform well and to find satisfaction in their job.

In fact, giving feedback is similar to coaching, mentoring or teaching.

Feedback is different from micromanagement, negative criticism or emitting judgement. It can be wrong but it is unfortunately necessary for our growth.

Benefits of the feedback process

We perpetually need evaluation to assess our current situation, our ego and our work performance.

The feedback process, if done the right way, will:

However, giving or receiving feedback is difficult: it relies on false assumptions, it consumes time and energy, is often met with avoidance or with resistance.

Nevertheless, being closed off from feedback unequivocally leads to conflicts, to setbacks, to communication issues, to an inability to find a solution.

How to receive feedback?

Receiving feedback as a leader will set the example and encourage people to listen to what you have to say.

Receiving feedback doesn’t mean automatically acting on the advice or immediately starting the changing process. It means that you must:

  1. Understand that there is always room for improvement. 
  2. Be open to feedback in general and therefore to understanding someone’s perception of you.
  3. Listen to what people you trust are saying about you and give the thoughts some consideration.
  4. Consolidate your confidence and set apart your identity from the perceptions people have about you.
  5. Understand that you have the option to choose to apply the feedback.
  6. Identify your triggers and fortify your emotional intelligence. You must therefore be willing to ask the right questions, to objectively talk about issues regarding you and to separate the person giving you feedback from the actual message.
  7. Learn from your mistakes and give yourself time to apply what you have learnt.

How to give feedback?

Leaders who are able to effectively receive feedback are able to give them as well, must exhibit exemplary behavior. To give effective feedback:

  1. Build trust and respect in your employees.
  2. Help people feel good about themselves and motivate them to grow.
  3. Develop an adequate communication style.
  4. Find out why you are implementing the feedback process.
  5. Specifically identify the issues you need to deal with, the reasons and the solutions for them.
  6. Understand that everybody processes information differently, has their personal systems of belief and their own truths. This makes the interpretation of feedback difficult.
  7. Before starting the process, collect enough information to form an accurate opinion. Prepare examples to back up your claims. Do not assume things about people and do not classify them.
  8. Don’t project, force people to change, force people to be something that they are not or treat them like a project that needs to be fixed.
  9. Mind your intent and be genuine in your delivery. Inauthentic feedback breeds distrust and generates negative emotional responses.
  10. Be empathetic. Think about what you are going to say and do before meeting with the person. Show appreciation, choose your words and timing carefully.
  11. Discuss people’s work performance but not their personality nor core values.
  12. Focus on people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses.
  13. Avoid definite terms such as “never”, “always”, “must”, “should”, and make “I’ statements.
  14. Encourage positive behavior. Work is not always fair and not everyone plays by the same rules.
  15. Acknowledge that there are consequences to every action.
  16. Give frequent feedback outside the annual performance review, in private, as soon as possible.

Providing & Receiving Positive Feedback

Last Word Of Advice!

Human beings are very sensitive and most people are not confrontational. So, treat people like you would like to be treated. Don’t seek to offend or to blame, and don’t talk down to 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.

Building And Maintaining Healthy Relationships In The Workplace

Deep long-lasting work relationships in corporate can take your career to the next level.

In a world where technology has taken over, where interactions are made behind our computer, where misunderstandings often foster and loyalty is a luxury, building relationships is challenging but can make the difference.

Wondering how leaders build and maintain long-lasting relationships in the workplace?

relationships workplace

The benefits of healthy relationships in the workplace

Building work relationships is difficult in itself. Mostly, because we don’t have the luxury of choosing who we hang out with.

In addition, highly skilled, smart people easily lose their jobs because of their low social skills, of their poor behavior and their lack of emotional intelligence.

The quality of the work relationships has direct impact on the quality of our lives. Indeed, healthy relationships have a tendency to reduce the effects of stress, to improve job satisfaction, quality of life, to keep us motivated and enthusiastic. They are a great indicator of whether or not we love our job.

Build and maintain deeper relationships

Thinking that work relationships are not worthy is a mistake. Leaders and employees have to make quick decisions while getting along with everyone, in multicultural contexts, with people from various backgrounds.

  1. Be authentic and comfortable with yourself first.
  2. Believe that you are worthy of relationships.
  3. Believe that you are trustworthy, that people are trustworthy even though you are aware of snakes in the grass. You can demonstrate trust by soliciting people’s opinion in one on ones.
  4. Believe that relationships are important to your career and to your self-development.
  5. Be reasonable. Monitor your behavior and what you say to people on a daily basis.
  6. Be patient and wait for an opportunity to present itself. Prepare yourself in the meanwhile by taking training and becoming an expert in your field.
  7. Get to know your audience, the decision makers and the influencers in the workplace. This means that you have t identify and anticipate their triggers, their motivations, their challenges, their needs. For example, ask specific questions to discover what someone cares about. Furthermore, discreetly get their attention and align yourself with them.
  8. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Respect yourself and the people around you even though they don’t reciprocate. Also, respect their time and opinion, accept them for who they are.
  9. Expect the best behavior from people even if you don’t like them and even though their behavior is not the best.
  10. Stay positive and develop your emotional intelligence to understand your emotions, those of others and to sustain your work relationships.
  11. Increase self-awareness. Assess your people skills and seek to develop them.
  12. Be assertive and clearly set boundaries to your relationships.
  13. Stay on top of corporate opinions and make sure you align yourself with them.
  14. Work on being more approachable. For example, if you are serious, smile a little more often. If you are very private, reveal a little bit about yourself to your coworkers.
  15. Identify and adapt the corporate communication style in order to express yourself. For instance, learn how to cordially disagree with your coworkers.
  16. Avoid destructive conflicts and avoid making enemies uselessly.
  17. Keep networking and making your new-found contacts your most valuable allies.
  18. Invest time and energy into your employees. Create a sense of unity and openness and show team spirit. Don’t allow people to feel excluded or disconnected and promote collaboration.
  19. Increase your team’s self-esteem. Make people, mostly your younger workers, feel good about themselves. You can do this by giving out meaningful assignments and validating the contributions of your employees. If your employees are not able to fulfill their duties, coach them or send them to a training instead of taking away their responsibilities.
  20. Help others in their work and help them to succeed.
  21. Share purpose to gather everyone around your vision.
  22. Address important issues in the room during meetings and don’t allow them to grow.
  23. Involve your employees in the decision-making process.
  24. Listen actively to understand your teams deepest needs, to build trust and loyalty before trying to influence and persuade them.
  25. Avoid gossip and spreading negativity. Gossiping will not dissipate misunderstandings but will only exacerbate them.
  26. When a situation turns sour, identify the reasons why. Loo at yourself beforehand, own a piece of a problem, avoid shifting blame and see how you could have positioned yourself differently. Also, to maintain relationships, quietly make amends, repair past damages, be accountable for your actions, without needing to ask for forgiveness or without begging.
  27. At work, we connect differently with our coworkers and sometimes take that connection outside of the workplace. With some coworkers, we are comfortable enough to talk about our private lives, families and are able to take the relationship beyond the workplace. We either think that our coworkers are out friends and families or we either don’t care to be liked by them. It is therefore necessary to learn how to discern personal and professional connections in the workplace.
  28. Show appreciation by publicly and privately congratulating your team for their great work.

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.