Stress – Can It Make You a Stronger Leader?
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Stress and constant tension are a common side effect of the entrepreneurial lifestyle. While there’s no way around that, you still might be able to use that pressure to your advantage. It’s all about finding the right balance and not letting the stress spiral out of control. At least that’s what some people believe.
This is easier said than done and feeling anxious all the time can also slowly wear you down over time. The idea is to learn to control all that pressure that builds up at work and use it to make yourself a better boss. Can this even be done? Can stress make you a great leader?
Let’s look at the facts.
The Dose Makes the Poison
Being stressed out constantly will cost you your health and impede progress, but a little bit of it helps keep you on track and thinking fast. Therefore, you need to create a work environment where people don’t blow up over small issues and cause unnecessary drama.
If you understand your priorities and don’t get worked up over petty office politics, you’ll have enough mental energy to cope with the stress that comes from serious problems.
Being Under Tension is not the Same as Being On Edge
Feeling that small knot tightening in your gut when you’re close to a deadline can get you incredibly focused on the task at hand. Allowing things to keep you constantly on the verge of snapping, on the other hand, isn’t productive or healthy.
You also want to keep relatively level headstrong emotions like anger and despair cloud your judgement. If you are realistic with your plans and deadlines, you can get enough of an adrenaline boost to keep your mind sharp but not enough to get angry.
All that Tension Makes You a Better Team Player
People who are tense and worried about completing their goals quickly are better at working with others on solving problems. It’s like when basketball players feel nervous before the big game. That feeling of slight anxiety helps them realize the gravity of the situation and motivates them to perform like never before.
The really interesting thing is that in stressful situations, people tend to be more perceptive of how others in their group feel and perform. We’re social animals, after all, hunters who work best in small teams or even village-sized groups when they are motivated by hunger and imminent danger. A bit of stress helps bring out those natural instincts in you.
Living with Stress Means You are Better at Handling Pressure
When you feel a certain level of stress every day, you get used to dealing with the feeling and performing optimally in difficult situations. If there’s an emergency, people who are used to stress will keep their cool and help their team deal with the problem instead of panicking and playing the blame game.
When the stress dial in the office is turned up all the way to 10, a good leader who’s used to it will operate on level 7. It’s easier for such a person to make better judgement calls but they also have a soothing effect on those around them. If people see that you are calm, they will put their trust in you and become more optimistic.
Being Stressed Makes You Incredibly Creative
Ever notice how when everything is fine and you feel at ease your mind tends to wander off and you become a bit lazy? It’s only when we feel like we are up against a wall that we start to scramble for quick and highly effective solutions.
Those who don’t feel any pressure often let their teams figure things out for themselves, because they don’t want to put in the extra work. They constantly shift deadlines and fail to inspire their employees. Leaders who have that fire inside, however, keep coming up with creative solutions and inspire their team members to push their limits.
Stress at work, in limited doses, can make you a stronger leader. It all comes down to your ability to avoid getting anxious about smaller issues and never let your stress turn into full-blown despair.