Okay, I think we can admit it. We are among friends here. We can be open.
The honest truth is:
Being in a position of leadership can be stressful.
Leadership is not easy. There is much that is expected of you.
You wear various hats:
- Father/Mother Figure
- Activity Planner
You have to deal with difficult situations:
- Tension between the members of your team
- Bad home situations of your students
- Having to correct a team member
- Interruptions of your schedule
Stress is the trash of modern life – we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life
— Danzae Pace
The various hats you wear and the difficult situations can be stressful. You may feel like sleeping away the trouble, pulling your hair out, or throwing in the towel. These are not the solutions you are looking for. You need to put the stressful situation into perspective. Let us look at how we can do this.
- Zoom Out
When a problem arises we normally zoom in on the problem. We want to see the problem up close. By zooming in, you lose sight of the big picture. Many times you make the problem bigger by zooming in. Instead, step back from the situation and zoom out.
Look at the situation from afar. You may see the problem is not as big as you thought it was. A solution may also present itself. Taking a step back and zooming out allows you to see the big picture and how everything connects. See if zooming out allows the solution to come into focus.
- Control Your Emotions
As stressful situations present themselves, it is easy to let your emotions run wild. You may feel anger, pain, grief, or betrayal. Having these feelings is okay. Letting these feelings dictate what you do next is not.
Bad decisions usually happen when you react because of your emotions. If you feel your emotions are starting to affect your judgement, take a break. Excuse yourself from the room. Take deep breaths. Do a couple of quick and easy exercises. Once you have cleared your mind, reevaluate the stressful situation. You will see it in a different light.
- Cultivate A Great Team
Leaders need to surround themselves with a great team. Your team can be your lifeline. Consult with your team members when you have a difficult and stressful situation arise. Get the opinions of the members that you trust.
Cultivating a great team means you have others who are willing to help you through. Allow them to help when you need it. There is nothing better than having a great team when facing a stressful situation.
- Decide If You Need To Deal With The Stressful Situation
People will bring their stressful situations to you. Sometimes you need to help them. Other times it is not a situation you need to deal with. Determine what type of situation it is. If it is a situation that requires your help, then help. If it is not a situation that you deal with, excuse yourself from it and recommend someone that can help them with a solution. Staying in a stressful situation that you do not belong in only brings more stress.
- Speak Positively
Instead of using critical language in regards to the situation, use positive language. “This looks hopeless” can become “This will take work but we can get through it”. “Ugh.. This situation again?” becomes “We have worked through this before. Lets get you out of this quickly again”. Just re-framing how you speak and think about the situation can change your stress level. Do not let the stress get you down!
Give your stress wings and let it fly away
— Carin Hartness
Remember, you will come upon stressful situations. However, you do not have to let the stressful situation dictate your reaction. When you find yourself facing stress, there are actions you can take to minimize it. Implement these strategies and I think you will find the stress be easier to handle.
Keep your chin up and keep moving forward.
Question: How can you better deal with the stressful situations you encounter? Share your ideas in the comment section. You may help someone overcome a stressful situation!