How Does a Leader Cope with Stress?

Stress is one of life’s many intangible yet very apparent realities that we as human beings will be faced with at many times.

Stress is a master of disguise and can masquerade uniquely under many different circumstances. Stress is how the body reacts when it has physically, mentally or emotionally had enough. Whether that built-up angst is derived from fears of not being able to perform a job adequately, personal bills feverishly filling up the pigeon hole or even matters of the romantic sort, it is something that can be felt on a very real level and affects millions of Americans daily.

I’m a realist, and while there may be stressful challenges and personal obstacles on the pathway to success, isn’t that what makes finally achieving anything really worth it?The feeling of overcoming adversity, to me, personally, is a thrill. I find that I am the type of person that thrives on chaos and produces the best results when the going gets tough. Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Such a mantra rings true in many circumstances and is advice that more folks should heed.

At Incept we’ve been talking about leadership and the qualities that make up a leader. Undoubtedly, a leader will always plan and strive for accomplishment and favorable outcomes, but most times there will be obstacles they must overcome in order to succeed. Let’s take a look at how a true leader copes in the face of stress.

  • Remain calm about the situation at hand

Life is ten percent what happens and ninety percent how you deal with it. A calm leader in the face of adversity or problematic issues remains just that, calm. Not only does a calm, collected attitude enable you to think more clearly and listen, but it also aids in allowing you to make proactive decisions.

  • Solve smaller problems

Sometimes stress can arise from extremely small situations and have a tendency to snowball into an even more stressful one. A true leader understands that solving smaller problems along the way is an excellent first line of defense in creating a sense of control while still being productive.

  • Set realistic goals

Sometimes goals that are too lofty to obtain and can actually be the source of stress itself. We cannot begin to achieve if we set ourselves up to fail. By setting realistic goals, a leader has a better sense of control and management to what is really needed from himself or herself.

  • Get negative energy out in a positive manner

If you let stress, anger and general bitterness build up, it can be unhealthy for you physically, mentally and emotionally. Personally, I have found by taking the negative energy that has built up and applying it in a constructive manner, you can not only decrease your stress level, but it can be rewarding! Exercising is a great way to brush off negativity. I also like to play my bass guitar and draw when I need to express how I feel. Another great (and simple) thing to do is talk. Everyone needs someone to whom they can vent; leaders are no different. Talking to someone you trust about something that is bothering you is a great way to get the feeling of dread off your chest and begin to look for solutions to the problem.

We will all be faced with some type of adversity in due time, that is a given. A good friend posted a great piece of advice in saying, “It’s not about the adversity that you face, but rather how you overcome the problems you encounter.”

How do you deal with your stress(es)?