Leadership in Times of Stress and Change

work under pressure

Do you, as a leader, work under intense pressure? My guess is, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Here’s what to do.

Leadership need a clear vision to not collide with stress

For example, can you keep your employees aligned on vision, mission, and results? Or is conflict higher than ever?

To clarify, what happens to you when stress and leadership collide?

Do you become a tyrant or give up and let your staff make key decisions?

For instance, does everyone think you have superhuman abilities? Most leaders are seen as bigger than life. Even so, you need help to get through these present complex times of change. Who are the colleagues to help you reach the ‘new normal’ everyone is talking about?

Most importantly, because stress and leadership go hand in hand, are you reaching out for advice? What tools do you need to make improvements and necessary adjustments to keep everything moving along in prime form?

Opt for continuous improvement to succeed.

Therefore, to avoid costly mistakes leadership and stress management require continuous leadership improvement.

Here is what one client said recently about navigating the terrain to ‘business as usual.’

What is ‘business as usual’ anyway?

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

The nature of work is changing and I’m not sure how to integrate the new order.

Most importantly, I must admit, I liked the older, hierarchical model of ‘boss tells, and employees respond.’

Sadly, for me, it’s not like that anymore.

For example, I never thought to ask my staff how they feel. Now I realize they must have strong (and different) thoughts about returning to work in the office full time.

In truth, I like the old saying, ‘my way or the highway’ is just about right.

However, I’m getting push back and I don’t like that.

More to the point, I’m not sure how to respond.

Please don’t ask me what my vision is. I have been over this territory for years. The vision and mission are strong and positive.

Does top-down leadership work best?

For instance, I make decisions with my leadership team. Then the rest of the staff can carry out what is requested.

Above all, this is neat and orderly. No confusion. Right?

However, there are now camps at work. Maybe three altogether. One group wants to work from home full time. Another wants to set up a hybrid of three days in-house and two at home. Next is the group that wants everyone in the office all the time. And let me add a fourth. This group says it is the individual who decides when and where to work.

Therefore, I am requesting some ideas on how to get to this ‘new normal. ‘ I want to use your ideas for stress management and leadership as a baseline before I freak out.


No more crap from staff

How do employees fit into decisions about ‘the new normal?”

Dear, NMC,

Above all, you are in the same place as every other leader I know.

Moreover, what worked before the Covid restrictions wont work now.

Firstly, you say you have a vision for your company in place. Also, that the vision has been in place for years.


Do you see that as a good thing?

When times change, people change. Therefore, it’s time to revisit the vision.

How do employees fit into the vision today?

You want to maintain a culture of creativity and caring? Then you can’t force people who work with and for you to salute and comply. Those days are over, and have been for a long time.

That is to say; employees need to help develop the company culture of success.

Further, the days of simply following orders create underlying tension and conflict. So, where should you start now? You need to have a road map to get to what we are all calling ‘the new normal?’

Here are a few ideas for leading with less stress and more clarity.

Attitude is what lifts the staff to a higher altitude.

Certainly, as the leader your employees listen careful to what you say and do. Therefore, you must make sure you are sending the right message.

Most importantly, as you sift through the various opposing camps, give guidelines. Ask why each group thinks their specific way is the best.

On one hand, that does not give them free rein to decide the outcome of who works when and where.

On the other hand, there is better buy-in to include all ideas. And yes, before you ask, leadership means you still make the final decisions.

Communicate to collaborate

Firstly, stay calm. I know that’s easier said than done. No matter, breathe deep before you speak.

To help you find the best way to communicate ‘the new normal’ I am offering a complimentary copy of my e-book Bumper Stickers for The Brain.

Here you will get great examples of the right words to bring people together. That way, you can all work towards a common goal.

You create the ‘new normal’ one bite at a time.

Do you know the old joke, “How to you eat and elephant?” Answer “One bite at a time!”

To sum up, we got through a pandemic together. The next steps are to define the new ways we, all of us, will work together.

The future that is most positive will show itself, one moment at a time.

My guess is a hybrid work setting will become the norm.

In conclusion, as a leader it’s time to redefine the essence of work. And even more important, how you want to enjoy your life and the journey you are on.

Here’s to your success,

Sylvia LaFair

PS. Feel free to do our Stress Busters quiz It’s fun and very informative. Lastly, join my Facebook group to learn more about stress management and leadership.

Sylvia Lafair

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