Leadership and Stress

leadership skills

Summary: Leadership skills must include best practices for dealing with stress. Here is some food for thought.

What is top of mind today is what leadership skills are needed when stress is high, which seems to be hanging around every day during these changing times.

That is to say, we all feel it. At least, I do, and my guess is you do too.

What leadership skills are needed now more than ever to limit stress?

We all have it in some way. Stress is especially prevalent for you as a leader. Therefore, the question is, “What leadership skills do you need to keep stress in, what I call, the safe stress zone?”

For example, my focus is on what happens during these times that seem to keep the roller coaster going. You know what I mean. Every time it looks like some situation is handled, you begin to take a deep breath.

And then it starts all over again.

When change is in the air your leadership skills need to be upgraded.

As a result, you can’t predict where things head. When change is in the air, do you pull back or go forward with enthusiasm?

For instance, when stress hits the hot button, what leadership skills do you use to handle the frustration or disappointment of the moment?

To clarify, we all tend to react with certain types of patterns. Mostly, these behaviors are ones that you learned early in life. Therefore, to have the best leadership skills, you need to go back and look at that right now.

Above all, did you scream it out or stuff it down?

Most importantly, when stress hits the hot button, it is critical to know where it started?

Three major places to learn about leadership skills and stress.

Firstly, in all the work I’ve done over the years, I’ve come up with three places that are foundational to handling stress. That means looking at family, culture, and crises.

Further, as a little kid, you learned how to look at situations around, gossip, and back-stabbing. In addition, let me add the gotcha game, where someone blamed you so they would not get in trouble.

Moreover, in your family of origin, your extended family, o in foster care, you understand the meaning of family.

Consequently, as a little kid, you looked around and learned the primary ways to behave.

In the same vein, you grow up, and you go into a work situation. You now have a variation of family. Thus, the big question is, what leadership skills did you learn when you were young to bring with you into adulthood? How do you handle conflict? What do you do when the stress hits the hot button?

Everyone yearns to feel safe and secure in their family.

Therefore, the question for today is, “How did you learn How to handle stress?

  • Were you sent to your room as punishment?
  • Who did you listen to?
  • Were there family meetings?
  • Did your father handle it by being macho and strong?
  • Was your mother in charge or handle it by going in the other room and maybe crying?
  • Did you speak out and get a smack on the side of your head?
  • How did siblings or cousins help or hinder the situation?
  • What were the repeating themes of arguments?

Every family and culture has patterns of behavior regarding stress.

I don’t want a stereotype, but these things have been around for a long time. So, go back and look at the behavior that was specific to your family.

Likewise, each culture has specific norms in how to behave.

In other words, let’s take a particular way to keep you safe. Think about when you drive a car. Of course, you are aware that a red light means stop and a green light means go. This agreement we all make keeps traffic flowing effortlessly. Yes, following rules can be beneficial.

Further, many rules are there to protect. However, some of the rules are old and need to go away.

Consider how women were trained and taught to behave and how men were trained and taught to behave.

Indeed, we’re in a time of such exciting evolutionary change. Families and specific cultures are changing along with the times. Think about what you learned in your culture about how to handle stress? What do you do when things don’t go your way? I’d like you to think about it and consider journaling about the changes that are present. Most importantly, also the changes that still need to be addressed.

Leadership skills must also address crisis management.

In addition, the third area for practical leadership skills has to do with crises.

Above all, a crisis comes at you fast. You don’t expect it. Think about what you do when faced with the fear of the unexpected. Mostly, you tend to inhale and forget to exhale. I call it the hardening of emotions. When you breathe in, and you freeze, you don’t know how to react.

Fortunately, there are many techniques and tools available to help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). My book “Invisible STRESS (It’s NOT What YOU Think!) discusses this along with many other ways to deal with the stress of today’s fast pace of change.

Here you learn the STRESS Fex Method to upgrade your leadership skills. If you don’t like the way you handle, stress the book will help. Even more, if you either scream it out or shut it down, read the book and then join my online Stress Busters Program. After that, you help yourself out of challenging situations faster and wiser. Even better, you become the leader who helps those around you do better too.

In conclusion, pay attention. Observe your behavior when stress hits the hot button. And as leaders, learn more effective ways to navigate and manage both change and the stress that comes with it.

Here’s to your success,


PS. Take the Stress Busters quiz to see exactly where you are now and

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Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options