Dealing with stress when you’re in a position of power

As leaders, managing stress might be a problem. We’re typically overwhelmed with work, continually multitasking, all whereas making an attempt to take care of a wholesome work-life stability.

So, studying tips on how to handle this stress is one of essentially the most highly effective issues we are able to obtain as leaders. Not solely does it enhance our general psychological well-being, nevertheless it improves productiveness and instills a confidence that we are able to do our job successfully to our friends.

Many of us expertise excessive ranges of stress comparatively continuously. The truth is, studies have proven that our society is experiencing increasingly stress as time goes by. That is also known as a “stress epidemic.” It’s a big downside, particularly when it involves utilizing power nicely.


After we’re feeling pressured, we have now elevated cortisol ranges in our physique. This leads us to see unusual issues as a risk, so we’re continually on excessive alert. When this occurs, we don’t use our power as successfully as we’d in any other case. The truth is, we are inclined to begin to really feel powerless. Stress makes us really feel weak, and we begin to lose our judgment.

Recognizing a want to drag rank

When stress takes over, we turn out to be particularly susceptible to what’s known as the “power paradox. The power paradox happens when we turn out to be tempted to attract on the standing our rank provides us in order to assist us briefly really feel higher. You’ve most likely skilled this your self or witnessed it in others. Folks turn out to be pressured and apprehensive that not all the pieces is true, and all of a sudden they turn out to be extremely pushed and perfectionist. In the event that they’re the boss, they begin to order folks round as a means of decreasing their stress. That is a poor use of power.

All of us really feel pressured at one level or one other, however in case you have rank, you’re going to be tempted to make use of your position as a means of dealing with your powerlessness. Stress tends to guide us to really feel powerless, and when we really feel this manner, we don’t use our power as successfully. That is half of the power paradox and is one thing that leaders must be conscious of.

Dealing with stress as a chief

When most of us are feeling extremely pressured, it’s often a signal that we’ve pushed ourselves too far and haven’t intervened quickly sufficient to handle the emotion. This doesn’t imply that it’s too late to do one thing about it, however that you must keep away from ready to get to this state earlier than appearing. Strategies like counting to 10 and respiratory deeply might be useful, however most of us discover it laborious to take these actions when we’re in a heightened state.

What I’m going to counsel we do is train extra self-discipline and management when we’re not feeling pressured. We have to discover time every single day the place we consciously withdraw from our work and sit, suppose, learn, decrease our coronary heart charge and calm down. If we proceed to do that every day, we received’t be escalating our coronary heart charge and constructing our stress one second upon the opposite, main us to turn out to be overwhelmed.

We have to reset and set again to zero every single day for a couple of minutes. That is a crucial approach. Some folks meditate or have interaction in a easy meditative train comparable to packing away dishes, studying, or doing a little easy stretches. Even when it’s just for 5 minutes, you’ll discover it will begin to make a distinction and also you received’t get to that place of heightened stress as typically.

Managing our stress is crucial when we’re in a position of power. Taking the time to consciously step away from work and decelerate every day could make a huge distinction in how we work together with ourselves and people round us.


Paul Donovan is the founder, The Change Company which he began in 1999. He specializes in working with senior govt groups to facilitate the best high quality dialogue and choice making.