It’s the end of the year with all its inherent stressors and I recently offered you an article about failure. What could be more of a downer? Okay, let me redeem myself and throw you a lifeline. Let’s talk about how you can look at stress in a more positive light.
Pound for pound, your brain uses much more oxygen than your other organs. And when you are under stress, the brain may use up to 100 times more oxygen than normal. You can imagine the workload that stress puts on your mental faculties. It’s like trying to maintain interstate speeds while your car is in the lowest gear. You are inviting collapse.
First, let me encourage you to search for articles in journals like the International Journal of Stress Management where you will learn the down side of chronic stress and ways to combat it. Much of which you are well aware of already. On the other hand, if you do research on periodic stress, you will find articles like Inc. Magazine that elaborate on the value of periodic stress. We benefit from stress when it forces us to focus on goals and apply a sense of urgency. We are made more alert during our challenges.
I have found in my own professional life, both military and corporate, that the most successful leaders are those that harness the need for urgency and don’t shy from putting some periodic stress on themselves or their teams. No one summed it up better than General Douglas MacArthur who said, “The history of failure in war can almost be summed up in two words: Too late.” If we look at our own failures I think we find that a lack of urgency is a root cause. Don’t be afraid to embrace stress if it leads to urgency.
So, like the weather, everyone talks about stress, but what can we do about it?
In one of our Academy Leadership workshops, Energize2Lead ™, we have participants prepare for the workshop by taking a 15 minute on-line survey that articulates each person’s leadership style in three dimensions, Instinctive Needs, Expectations, and Preference. Regardless of the environment — social, work, off-duty, high-stress, low-stress, the results are almost 90 per cent reliable and our deep dive into the dimensions unmasks what you need to control stress and stay on top of your game. For example, each of us have some degree of four traits that form our Instinctive Needs — Action, Detail, Social and Creativity. In this dimension, we find our DNA has wired us to use the traits that we are endowed with to our advantage in helping us to begin our day with energy or start to sense some duress in our working relationships. With an understanding of our dominant traits, we can keep our finger on the pulse of these Instinctive Needs and maintain mental clarity to be better problem solvers and less likely to succumb to the negative effects of stress. We have found that this works for groups as well as individuals.
Let’s look at this in a common workplace scenario. Person A who is focused on goals and Person B, who works for Person A and is somewhat more creative and very calculated, are having a meeting. Person A needs action. Person B needs a more introspective look to commit. Person A wants it to be concise, Person B wants it to be complete. This could result at loggerheads, but if Person A and Person B are aware of their own Instinctive Needs as well as each other’s, they realize they can reach a solution if they each work to fulfill the other’s needs. Stress is relieved as both work for an effective solution with the urgency required of the situation.
Stress has value when understood by leaders who know themselves and their team members and strive for effective solutions with urgency. Put it to work for you.
Ron works with emerging leaders, execs, entrepreneurs and managers who want to sharpen their leadership skills and inspire their teams to achieve a level of performance beyond their imagination. He does this by providing high-impact, energizing programs that give the participants an opportunity to learn and practice the guiding principles of leadership that are crucial to establishing a success-oriented environment. You already know a lot about leadership, Ron helps you to amp it up and put it all together so that you use your abilities in a disciplined fashion every day to achieve results! His course participants are unanimous in their feedback, "I wish I had attended earlier in my career." He has also brought his Leadership Excellence Course to the Battleship North Carolina, where participants learn in a most inspiring environment how to motivate people, the power of integrity, the reasons for good feedback and many other defining leadership principles that help leaders and teams get to the next level and achieve results. You can check out some other course opportunities at AcademyLeadership.com. Look in the Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte and Wilmington areas.
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