“The Neuroscience of Leadership Stress: Myths & Solutions for Busy Professionals, Managers & Executives”
“What Your Brain Wishes You Knew About Leadership Stress & 5 Simple Solutions to Successfully Do More With Less & Have Fun Doing It!”
We all experience stress and to a certain degree need it to be motivated into action. Left unchecked, even low levels of chronic stress will not only reduce your ability to solve problems and make decisions, your stress will reduce your team’s productivity and engagement. Click here to listen to the webinar replay (available for a limited time only):
Whether you see yourself as a leader (or not), have the title of CEO behind your name or have a corner office (or not), if you are in a position whereby you are responsible for managing and motivating others, you are a leader.
The fact is, no matter what our title is, all people experience stress (and to a certain degree we need stress to get motivated into action). Yet, have you ever felt overwhelmed, irritable, frustrated, exhausted or have difficulty focusing? How about physical symptoms of stress: having difficulty sleeping, increased or decreased appetite, using alcohol or prescription medication to reduce anxiety, panic attacks, high blood pressure … there’s many more.
But here’s the thing: Stress will diminish your brain’s capacity to solve problems, think creatively, make decisions, learn, reason and understand another person’s perspective? And to make matters worse, did you know stress is contagious?
Left unchecked, even low levels of chronic stress will not only reduce your ability to solve problems and make decisions, your stress will reduce your team’s productivity and engagement.
If you would like to Discover 5 Practical Solutions to Eliminate Leadership Stress, join me on Thursday, May 10th for a free webinar.
· Learn the latest discoveries in neuroscience (or brain science) about the strengths and limits of your brain (which alone might scare you into making some drastic changes in how you work).
· Discover why saying “it’s just stress” can be the end of your career more quickly than you think.
· Realize how your stress negatively impacts creativity, productivity and motivation, both your team’s and your own.
· Know how to make 5 simple changes in your day so you can get more done, more efficiently in less time than ever before
· Realize which words we use daily in our communication with others that create “fight or flight” reaction in others and which 4 words to use instead to motivate rather than deflate.
· Learn about a unique type of stress leaders experience and a brain-based solution to eliminate feelings of responsibility and helplessness that come with the job.
There will be an opportunity to submit your questions about the topic of stress and leadership prior to the workshop, as well as an opportunity for Q & A at the end.
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Yes, I said “BS.” Let’s start at the beginning:
Question: What makes a problem a problem?
Before I answer this question, how would you answer it? Think of a recent situation you’d define as a problem. Got it? Now, describe that problem. For example, “I was frustrated because I was stuck in traffic.”
What was the problem? Being stuck in traffic wasn’t the problem. Being late wasn’t the problem. Was feeling frustrated the problem? Almost. My feeling or emotion of frustration (interpreted by my brain as a negative, painful emotion) resulted in my behavior (honking my horn).
But where did THAT feeling come from? It came from BS.
Answer: Bulls*&t? Could be. Belief System (which are often interchangeable concepts). My BELIEF (or my “rule”) was that if I was late to my meeting, then I would feel pain. Was that bulls%t? Maybe, maybe not.
Recent studies in the field of social cognitive neuroscience show our human brain works harder to avoid pain than to seek pleasure. My brain was working hard, very hard. Maybe as a child being late was severely punished. Maybe I had one negative experience being late for a meeting (and feeling embarrassed or ?) which combined to create a cellular memory (or rule so I didn’t let it happen again in the future) of pain so my brain could keep me safe.
So what makes a problem a problem is the not only the negative or painful emotion attached to it, but the rule or pattern your brain created when it connected the feeling to a situation in the past and projected it into the future.
So, why is this important? Empathy. The #1 secret to keeping cool under pressure is drumming up the feeling of empathy. Because of the wiring in our brain, we cannot feel empathy and angry at the same time … the experience of empathy occurs in a different part of the brain and we can’t feel both at the same time.
Next time a peer or colleague gets upset about a situation you feel is “no big deal” and you wonder why she’s so upset, just say “it’s not her, it’s just her brain.”
Perhaps empathy on your part could subvert a potential conflict or misunderstanding and you both could get the job done more easily.
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Leaders: Recognize the effects of power stress now to avoid burn up or burnout!
Leaders today face many unique challenges. Being a leader has several inherent benefits as well as challenges. One challenge is “power stress” which results from the demand for influencing others and the increased responsibility of a CEO’s high level position.
Power stress is considered to be part of the unique experience of being in a leadership role which results from constantly having to exercising influence on others and the subsequent sense of responsibility felt by those in leadership positions.
Other signs of impending burn out are:
Stay tuned* for Part 2: Leaders: 10 easy ways to reverse the effects of power stress, avoid burnout & feel more productive, satisfied and happier in just a few minutes a day
And Part 3: Leaders: 7 signs your stress is effecting your team’s productivity
*Sign up here to receive the free audio “Avoid the 3 Biggest Team De-motivators (& 5 Strategies to Motivate Your Team Now!) to get access to more Tips & Strategies for Sustainable Leaders including FREE Monthly Q & A Tele-seminars
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I posted a question asking what Senior Leaders do to recharge on the LinkedIn Group Developing the Leader within You. Below is a quick summary of great suggestions and ideas for creativity, solution-finding and recharging from senior leaders from around the world, and included:
The consensus seems to be in order to recharge or to find solutions, we can get there easier and in less time when we switch off the thinking brain and switch on the the being and doing brain and “mindless” (preferably enjoyable) activity.
Activities in which we enjoy and lose track of time (the state of flow) also may encourage alignment of our heart waves and brain waves, which will clear the clutter and allow you to recharge your thinking brain (which is why we have Aha! moments doing these very things).
The evidence in the latest brain-science research proves it. Now … go forth and play (and of course, shower)!
Leaders face many unique challenges. Being a leader has several inherent benefits as well as challenges. One challenge is “power stress” which results from the demand for influencing others and the increased responsibility of the position (McClelland, 1985).
Power stress is considered to be part of the experience resulting from exercising this influence and the subsequent sense of responsibility felt by those in leadership positions.Richard Boyatzis (2006) proposes that that leaders who are able to develop others through adopting a coaching engagement, are able to significantly lower this stress at a neurological level, which in turn has a positive ripple effect for the coachee, the coach and the organization as well.
Next: Are you on your way to burning out? Do you sometimes feel isolated? Do people really tell you the truth? Would you listen if they did? (That’s another topic …)
Other signs of impending burn out are: dissatisfaction with work or home life, irritability, restlessness, reduced creativity, poor decision-making, relationship problems at home or work, depression, anxiety, increased alcohol use, gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure to name a few.
Coming up: You can reverse the effects of power stress and avoid burnout (and dramatically improve your productivity, satisfaction and happiness in the process). Stay tuned!
Jay Politi offers a terrific summary of why Coaching with The Brain in Mind by David Rock and Linda Page is a must read for managers and leaders who want to avoid burn out and become Sustainable Leaders who are built to last.
Being a leader has several inherent benefits as well as challenges. One challenge is “power stress” which results from the demand for influencing others and the increased responsibility of the position (McClelland, 1985).
Power stress is considered to be part of the experience resulting from exercising this influence and the subsequent sense of responsibility felt by those in leadership positions.
Richard Boyatzis (2006), Professor in the Departments of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University, who has written over 100 articles and authored six books in the subject, several with Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) and published numerous studies in the field of leadership, emotional intelligence and neuroscience, proposes that leaders who are able to develop others through adopting a coaching engagement, are able to significantly lower this stress at a neurological level, which in turn has a positive ripple effect for the coachee, the coach, the coachee’s peers, customers and the organization as a whole.
Get free resources to find out how you can lower your stress level with tools to easily engage in a conversation focused on developing others at Sustainable Leadership, Inc.
Free Tele-seminar 11 AM MST listen by phone or web. Go to http://www.sustainable-leaders.com to register – Darn, you missed it! To receive notification when the audio download of this tele-seminar is available go to http://www.sustainable-leaders.com and register.