Leadership in times of stress

By | January 13, 2016

Happy January everyone!!

It’s week three of the year , and for some of you this may mean that the summer holidays have become a distant memory, the tan has started to fade and the coffee intake has started to increase.
For many of my clients and partners, January can also mean returning to work to learn about an exciting new mission for the year, and often the restructures and realignments that can go with it. And for other clients, particularly in Australia, it is the time workload starts peaking as we work towards end of financial year in June. Either way, the increase to workload or transitionary periods of change can create stressful and challenging times for managers and teams alike. Whilst workplace stress triggers may not always be something you can control, you can influence how you respond to them. Here are a few tips that have worked for me in the past……….

1. Know your value
I was fortunate enough to have mentoring time with an amazing global leader in the US last year. He said one key sentence to me which made me rethink how I was reacting to a particular situation (and let’s face it, there are always those situations…!) “Michelle, remember, and never lose sight, into the value you bring to the table”. When I walked away from the meeting, I sat and considered the problem I was facing, with the clarity on my value at the forefront of the problem resolution. The way I responded and reacted to that situation changed, as did my stress levels. It is now a key discussion area I have with my team – ensuring that they thrive with absolute knowledge on their skills and eminence.

2.Colourful Energy
Surround yourself with people who energise and motivate you. It is easy to allow yourself to sponge the energies from negative people. However choosing to surround yourself with people who see the rainbows through the clouds and who are high energy and upbeat, can help turn a negative day into a day which provides you with meaning and purpose . And wear colour – a splash of tangerine in a dull grey office – can bring a smile to the most tired of colleagues. Be the person who energises other people.

3. Go for a walk
My favourite tip – I do most of my team reviews and discussions for my Sydney based team – in the form of a casual walk around St Leonards and Crows Nest. Getting outside, away for the office, and walking in the sun, can help to generate the most productive and purposeful discussions. It helps you to breath, calm your nerves,and provide greater levels of clarity. It can also help to draw out what is really on your teams minds, as they “walk and talk”. And an immediate, time and place stress buster for you and your team.

4. Embrace your passions
I love to write, and share my thoughts and experience. It is one of the reasons I love blogging and mentoring. Investing time in writing now only provides me with purpose, it makes me happy. It ensures that I take time out to get greater perspective on my work day, and that I invest in my skills and value – to the organisation, my team and to myself. I encourage my team to do the same – having the best team in the room, who have clarity on their purpose and value, is an absolute competitive advantage.
And most importantly of all

5. Live for the moment and have some fun.

Laughter, in the company of positive and inspiring people, and doing things which make you smile is powerful, rewarding and liberating.
So have some fun, be amazing and remind yourself, as you jump back into a new year of work…………….. you’ve got this.