For new leaders and high performers, stress is a part of the job.
When striving for excellence on limited time frames and shrinking budgets, stress will be experienced by every team member. Wise leaders teach their teams how to manage their stress and encourage them to engage in stress management activities as often as they are needed.
Some of my favorite and effective stress management techniques include:
- Going for a short walk around the outside of the building. Getting away from the situation allows me to gain clarity and keep it in perspective.
- Eating lunch ANYWHERE but my office. Lunch is one of the few long breaks leaders and their teams have during the day. Just a 30 minute pause allows me to focus on something else besides my challenges.
- Deep breathing exercises. Sit quietly in a chair, close your eyes , take in a series of deep breaths. I find it can relax me in less than a minute.
- Listen to classical music. (or your choice) I love music and most of my co-workers through the years have also enjoyed it. There are a few people who prefer to work in quiet. If possible, accommodate both groups.
- Allow personal items and plants in the work space. We spend most of our waking hours at work. By allowing your team to keep small photos and plants in their work spaces, it gives an impersonal work area a touch of humanity. Care should be taken to avoid plants which may cause allergic reactions in select team members.
- Organized group stretching. Select a time every day to stop and stretch. Everyone needs a break. For employees sitting most of the day, they need to get up once an hour to avoid the potential for blood clots.
Strive to prevent stress from building up.
Every day is not going to be smiles and sunshine. You and your team members will have bad days. At some point, everyone will face challenges in your personal life will spill over into your professional life. Keep it in perspective. It is rarely as bad as it first appears. From failures and bad days, great days are launched. Only in times of strife, game changing people emerge and high performing teams are forged.
Avoid perfectionism and unrealistic expectations.
All of us are human. Do you and your team a favor – keep it in perspective. Never forget, every morning brings the opportunity to do it better than the day before. Take care of yourself and encourage your team to do the same. Express gratitude for what has been accomplished. Surprise your team from time to time with their favorite food. When they really excel, take them out to lunch and escape the office!