As I stated last week (click here to read) people in leadership roles encounter a level of stress and pressure that is a substantial multiple of the challenges met by those in non-leadership roles. Factors such as performance pressure, personnel matters, ill-treatment by one’s supervisors, errors viewed by oneself or by others as a “failure,” and other such trials, can take a toll on the leader’s internal resilience.
Stress is a tough task-master. It comes in several forms and is worth its own review – which I will not undertake (thoroughly) here. Rather, as a general overview, I am simply pointing out that there are two very broad categories: incidental stress and cumulative stress.
Focusing first on incidental stress, it is characterized by specific unusual events that cause one’s stress level to quickly spike. This kind of stress can be easier to spot. Accordingly, it can be reduced by focusing on steps to alleviate its impact (specific steps will be reviewed in later blog posts).
The point here is not to fully explain or provide an authoritative diagnostic. I do not have the appropriate academic or medical background to do so. That said, incidental stressful events can have a very real impact on one’s resilience. So much so that even an armchair quarterback can acknowledge as much.
I believe the key is to be alert and aware – even generally – to the impact of incidental stress – and how it can affect (and likely reduce) one’s normal level of resilience.
Next week I will provide an overview of the impact of “cumulative” stress. Then in subsequent blogs I will explore some of the tools that can help us deal with the stresses that accompany leadership responsibilities.
The objective is to develop and maintain a heathy level of resilience over the long haul so that we can handle the stresses that will come. Doing so is not automatic, which is one more reason why it takes courage, to lead.
Photo Credit: Ian Espinosa