5 ways leaders can effectively manage stress

Keeping stress under control makes for a more effective team leader. (Rawpixel pic)

Being a leader is an honour. Leaders are entrusted with guiding a group of people to success.

They are typically thought of as trustworthy, wise and resilient. But the workload is heavy and creating that seamless authority and giving proper guidance can be stressful.

Leaders typically suffer in silence when it comes to the stress of the position, not wanting to appear unsure of their ability to lead.

The reality is that leaders often do not take the proper steps to alleviate stressors and end up taking it out on employees, families or themselves.

With a few simple steps, leaders can learn to manage stress and improve their ability to lead others.

1. Get organised

Being badly organised can be disastrous for a leader, and it makes for a stressed leader as well.

The most basic change a leader can make in trying to reduce stress is to get organised.

Whether this means clearing the desk, tidying up files or even exchanging paper documents for digital files, keeping important information all in one place is essential to reduce stress.

Someone who is running a company, or who has to report to upper management, would be much more effective if materials are organised.

Nothing makes someone look like a poor leader more than not knowing where things are or at what stage an important project is, which causes stress for the leader and the team.

Keep everything in one place, so if there are questions about a project, the answers can be looked up quickly and easily if necessary.

Decluttering, whether it is your office desk or digital files, is essential in helping you reduce stress. (Rawpixel pic)

2. Remember to over-communicate

Stress is sure to arise when there is a failure to communicate with the team. Leaders need to know what everyone is working on, what the goals are and if help is needed.

Effective leaders know at all times what the team needs and what the progress of a project is. Regular, productive communication is necessary to achieve this.

Leaders must be available to the team at all times during the workday. If a team member has a question, needs to update the manager on the status of a project or needs confirmation of a piece of information, they need to be able to reach the person who leads them.

Employees and team members respect a leader they can talk to about anything without fear of being reprimanded or looked down upon.

Being open to verbal and electronic communication at all times during the workday is essential to be a strong and impactful leader.

3. Separate work from life

A person in a position of authority does not need to eat, sleep and breathe the job 24/7, especially if it is a significant source of stress.

It is not healthy to be stressed out all the time, nor is it okay to only ever focus on work.

Most people have friends, family, children and hobbies, but these areas of fulfilment can be easily neglected if leaders cannot separate work from life.

A leader should feel confident they have done everything they can on a given workday and that is enough until the next day.

Leaving work at the office helps to leave stressors behind, giving individuals a chance to unwind.

4. Make time for yourself

Along with leaving work-related stress at the office and coming home to a peaceful environment after work, a leader should make time to do something they enjoy every day.

This could be working out, meditating or pampering oneself. Taking time to take care of oneself — whether it be keeping up a skincare routine or putting on a guided yoga video for stress-relieving exercise — can help focus the attention on relaxation.

These practices are especially helpful just before going to sleep, as they will help with winding down for a full night’s rest. Waking up from a quality sleep will help leaders feel rejuvenated and ready for the day.

Making time for oneself by putting on a yoga video, for example, can help relieve tension. (Rawpixel pic)

5. Always seek improvement

Leaders who create significant change and improvement in the organisation are always trying to raise the bar.

Leaders are aware that in improving one’s professional abilities or setting larger and higher goals for the team, success comes from constantly challenging oneself.

A great source of stress can be not knowing how to approach a new, challenging situation. Leaders can overcome this stress by being both strategic and organised.

Those in positions of authority, who have a larger skill set, are less likely to be fazed by a major obstacle in a project.

So, leaders should always work on expanding their knowledge of their organisation, their team members and their own professional abilities.

When challenges arise, leaders can allocate the people with the relevant skill sets to tackle the job, share their own knowledge of the issue or, at the very least, know where to go to find someone with the experience to help. A calm and confident leader is the best leader of all.

This article first appeared in jobstore.com.

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