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Leading from the front and middle

How to Handle Stress 

As an emerging leader you are under a lot of pressure. You need to get your own work done, your team needs you, and your manager needs you. There are demands coming at you left, right and centre. 

You can probably recall a time, however, when someone in the business lost their composure, and it didn’t look good. Not only does it not look good, it’s not effective. It also diminishes the confidence and respect that others have in you.

Learning to handle stress and avoiding emotional outbursts are important at all levels of leadership. 

The following emotional management techniques can be used to assist emerging leaders handle the stress:

  Proactive 

  • Proactive techniques are pre-emptive attempts to minimise the potential for stress. It’s what you do/think before you get stressed. For example:

  • Manage your time: Consider Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important principle to plan tasks; reduce workload through delegating tasks
  • Have a supportive network: Have an objective person you can speak to; be open and honest when you need help
  • Adopt an optimistic mindset: Look at challenges as opportunities rather than problems 
  • Meditate: Make a habit of relaxing and being mindful of your thoughts and feelings
  • Exercise, get enough sleep and eat well: Healthy body = healthy mind! 
              

  Reactive  

                     
  • Reactive emotional management techniques are things we do effectively to respond to strong emotions. It’s what we do/think following a stress response. For example:

  • Create space: Go for a walk, take deep breaths, or count to 10.
  • Gather information to test assumptions:
    - Open questions – ‘What’, ‘How’, ‘Tell me more’, ‘What else’. Monitor use of ‘Why’
    - Closed questions – Check for correct understanding by asking questions that invite a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. Use cautiously
    - Active questions – “What else?”, “Can you help me understand why you think that?”  
  • Look at the big picture:
    - Consider the context and reappraise the situation and your priorities.




































Tell us about your experiences and the techniques you’ve successfully used to handle stress. Post your feedback on the FASTLEAD Forum 


Alistair Gordon 
FASTLEAD Coaching Team 


THE LESSON FROM HANDLING STRESS

Leverage proactive and reactive emotional management techniques to better handle the stress of leadership.




 
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