A leader recently said to me “I feel like I am jumping from one crisis to another.”
This person is not alone. Today’s leaders are dealing with an environment that is increasingly challenging. Some reasons for this include:
- Covid and its aftermath – including work from home
- A more politically charged environment than ever before.
- People are demanding transparency and authenticity
The implications for this are that leaders are more stressed and often feel under pressure constantly. What to do? Following are some ideas from Harvard Business Review:
*Rely on Close Confidants. Loneliness can compound the stress of leadership. Seek out people that you trust and respect. Utilize them for advice or even just having someone to vent with. Talking through issues with people who are not directly involved can provide valuable perspectives.
*Listen to Professional Advisors. You might be hesitant to spend the money – but do it! Getting the right legal perspective or PR expertise can be the difference between a challenge and a catastrophe. You need to make the final decision, but take the time to ask the pros for their counsel.
*It’s Not Personal. It surely can feel personal, but remember – you are playing a role. Anger has to be aimed somewhere and you are a convenient target. Do your best to absorb it, but don’t let it stick. Some exercise or meditation may help you just let it go.
*Anticipate Emotional Reactions. Do your best to empathize with others who are being impacted with the issue you are addressing. How would you feel in their situation? Encourage others on your team to empathize as well and see things from others’ perspectives.
“It’s lonely at the top.” It’s a cliché because it is true and has never been more true. These four tips can help but we will add a 5th – get away from work when you can and truly unplug. We all need time to recoup and recharge. Organizations need leaders, and we need you to stay as fresh as you can be!
*Ideas for this blog taken from: Nohria, N. “How CEO’s Can Navigate the Emotional Labor of Leadership,” Harvard Business Review online, August 11, 2023.