How do you feel most days at work? If you’re like many executives, your first reaction to this question was probably, “Stressed.”
That’s unfortunate. And, unfortunately, it’s incredibly common.
Where does your stress come from? Usually, we feel that stress comes from out there, and is caused by people and situations.
Pressure exists for everyone. We all have deadlines, workloads, and responsibilities to others. It’s not really pressure that causes the pain you feel every day. It’s what your mind does with that pressure that turns it into stress.
The truth is that much of your stress is self-inflicted. Yes, you read that right… I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably bringing a lot of this on yourself.
You certainly don’t do this to yourself on purpose. Nobody wants to have more stress in their life! It’s often just the byproduct of trying to be a good leader for your company and to serve your employees in the best possible way.
From my experience coaching top leaders all over the world, here are a few examples of things I’ve seen leaders do that causes their own stress levels to raise:
1) Trying to solve everyone’s problems.
When an employee has a challenge you may feel that part of your job is to fix it. Some leaders actually pride themselves on coming up with the solutions. After all, as the leader, you should know all the answers, right?
While this is often well intentioned, that belief can create quite a burden on you having to know or solve every problem. It can also cause frustration for both you and your employees.
The reality is that employees don’t really expect or appreciate it when the solution is always yours.
My advice: Engage employees in finding their own solutions. Everyone wants to feel as if they’re making a valuable contribution so surround yourself with smart, capable people and get out of their way.
2) Working harder/longer hours.
In an effort to get caught up and stay ahead you probably work longer hours; coming in early, staying late, and even working on vacation.
This is both unproductive and unhealthy (for you and your employees.) Remember, your behavior sets the example for your expectations. (Related: Are You Promoting a Workaholic Culture?)
A study published by Stanford University actually shows that the longer you work the worse your results may be. So, work smarter not longer.
3) Making yourself accessible at all times.
You want to be available to your employees, but having quiet time to focus is important. You need time to do your work, too!
You’ve probably felt frustrated by constant employee interruptions which perpetuates the cycle of working longer to get ahead, right?
If your open-door policy is stressing you out, consider setting clearer boundaries. Give yourself permission to shut your door occasionally and communicate your needs with your staff and Executive Assistant.
4) Not delegating to others.
Have you ever caught yourself saying, “If I want something done right, I have to do it myself”?
This can increase pressure on you making you feel overwhelmed and overworked.
Hire a great team with experience and expertise. When you communicate openly and empower employees to take action, you extend trust that they can do their jobs well. Let them help you!
5) Not expressing vulnerability.
Sometimes you may feel that if you show too much emotion, you’ll be seen as weak. When you try to ignore your emotions, they can build like a pressure cooker.
The reality is that you’re human, not superhuman. People appreciate it when leaders show vulnerability. Show that you care and you’ll build trust and loyalty!
If you’re looking for coaching to help you get out of your own way and reduce stress in your office environment, schedule a Complimentary Discovery Call with me!