Coping With Stress
Stressful circumstances are an inevitable part of professional life, yet how those experiences are managed has a significant impact on leader’s abilities to produce results within the organizations they lead.
When we experience stress, which is defined as a gap between our capacity and expectation, many of us fail to successfully mitigate the impact of that intense emotional experience on ourselves and others. As pressure to perform rises, responses to stressful circumstances can include:
Difficulty managing the external display of our emotional experiences and becoming noticeably moody, irritable and unapproachable.
Transferring stress to others by placing blame, becoming defensive or applying increased pressure to complete tasks and deliver results.
Avoiding stressful situations entirely by procrastinating, becoming withdrawn or distracting with details when big picture strategies require attention.
Regardless of which method we to manage high pressure situations, it is essential for leaders to understand that when they engage in these stress-related behaviors, they erode the foundation of trust in their professional relationships. These responses set a poor example when it comes to managing the pressures of challenging professional circumstances because they reinforce maladaptive coping strategies. With enough consistency, these tendencies damage organizational resiliency and interfere with the learning that may come from navigating difficult situations.
Coaches can work with leaders to identify counterproductive stress behaviors and design strategies to proactively mitigate responses to intense professional conditions. We partner with leaders to not only develop personal resilience to chaotic environments and heavy workloads, but also to design plans to improve organizational strength when pressures mount. This kind of coaching work equips leaders, teams and organizations with the capacity to recognize when stressful conditions require intervention, the knowledge to identify the opportunities and the tools to manage the intensity of the experience for all involved.