How Leaders Can Reduce Stress This Year

Too much on your plate today? Feeling stressed about all that you are responsible for?

Andy Stanley shared on a recent podcast episode that stress is more about what we are doing than how much.  The idea is that if you are engaged in your job, working on projects that are aligned with your passions, gifts, and abilities, you’re less likely to experience the stressful feeling of being overwhelmed–even if you have a large quantity of work.

Do you buy that?

I’m quite sure I have more quantity of work in the last 10 years of running my own company than ever before. Yet what I do is so closely aligned with what I truly enjoy: developing people and helping them to succeed. Though I have significantly more volume of work, I rarely have the same sense of stress that I did as an executive who spent more time slaving over budgets and corporate politics. My what is more closely aligned to who I am, allowing the how much to not feel as overwhelming.

It may feel to you that going off and starting your own company may not feel like an option for you this year. There was a day when I felt that as well. However, in my case, I started speaking at conferences while still an employee of a company. I was moving closer to what I loved to do each year. Eventually launching the new business was possible.

But that’s my story, not yours. Here are some coaching questions for your consideration:

  • What changes could you make at your current organization to better align what you do with who you are?  Are there some alternative positions you could start moving toward? Are there some changes in your current role that you could talk to your manager about?
  • What are those things on your plate that you really should be giving to other people? Particularly if you are in a management role, what are you doing that really should be delegated to others around you?  What are those things that you are best at doing, that provide the greatest value to the organization. Focus on those. To the degree you are able, seek to delegate the rest as much as possible.

Howard Hendricks says it this way: the secret to concentration is elimination. As you look at this year ahead, there are likely many things that you need to stop doing. Seek to put your focus on those most important projects and tasks. Consciously look for ways to align your what with who you are.

Those are keys to a less stressful and more fulfilling year ahead.

P.S. In the coming weeks you’ll hear more about our Leadership Fast Track program that will be kicking off in the second quarter. Through a combination of assessments, web-based workshops, and one-on-one coaching, you will learn more about yourself, be more effective at influencing and leading people, and improve your ability to deliver projects.

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