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5 Ways to Experience and Convey Less Stress

Aug 20, 2015


  1. 1. Stress Free Leadership5 Steps to Get Value from Stress & Experience Less
  2. 2. 2Opportunity:Extract the value from stress, butexperience and convey less of it.1. Identify your specific stressors tobetter manage them2. Determine when stress issabotaging or beneficial3. Shift your focus from stress toprogress more quickly4. Increase your capacity to lead andyour impact5. Avoid passing stress on to yourteam and build their momentuminstead
  3. 3. Work can push all our buttons:Need to achieveFear of failingPressure to performReliance on others to performOther peoples styles and habitsSelf doubt and recriminationOverwhelmMoney anxietyObligations to othersBut it also signals what needsour attention if we listen.
  4. 4. A little history on stressThe term stress was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, whodefined it as the non-specific response of the body toany demand for change.Stress quickly became a buzzword. Some used it to refer to an overbearingor bad boss or some other unpleasant situation. For others it referred to theform of chest pain, heartburn, headache or palpitations people experiencedin reaction to hard situations. Others used stress to refer to what theyperceived as the end result of these repeated responses, such as an ulcer orheart attack.A 1951 issue of the British Medical Journal noted, Stress in addition tobeing itself, was also the cause of itself, and the result ofitself.Selye was not aware that stress had been used for centuries in physics toexplain elasticity, the property of a material that allows it to resume itsoriginal size and shape after having been compressed or stretched by anexternal force. As expressed in Hookes Law of 1658, the magnitude of anexternal force, or stress, produces a proportional amount of deformation, orstrain, in a malleable metal.This created even more confusion as research had to be translated intoforeign languages. There was no suitable word or phrase that could conveySelve meant which was really strain. In 1946, academicians responsible formaintaining the purity of the French language decided that a new wordwould have to be created. Le stress was born, quickly followed by el stress, ilstress, lo stress, der stress in other European languages, and similarneologisms in Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic.Source of text and image:
  5. 5. I hate my job and I dontlike you much either.When stress talks for us,we dont operate at our best.
  6. 6. I just need your team goals??to align to my goals.This has nothing to dowith our work hesclueless!When stress drives our actions,How was I supposed toknow these were ourwe are less effective and observant leaders.
  7. 7. Is StressGoodorBad?Both.
  8. 8. Stress SpectrumGood Stress DistressStress LevelPerformanceTHE HUMPHealthytensionComfortzoneFatigueExhaustionHealth riskBreakdown
  9. 9. Stress can tell us what needs attention and work, whatneeds to be resolved or improved. When viewed as a tool,it can amplify our leadership effectiveness.
  10. 10. While too much stresscan make us unhealthy,our responseto stress is often thebigger problem.(Thinking stress is a problem cancreate a problem.)
  11. 11. Stress Response EscalationPhysicalSensationUnthinkingReactionImpulsiveBehaviorNegativeImpact
  12. 12. Stress Response EscalationWhat do you feel? Hot flush Clenched jaw Tense shoulders Shallow breathingor holding breath Sweat Exasperation Sadness or crying FatigueWhat is yourimmediateresponse? Anger Rage Blame transfer Recrimination Rejection Aversion FrustrationWhat are yourreactivebehaviors? Impatience Lash out Raised voice Visible frustration Unkindness Cut people off orout Berate or belittle Convey blameWhat is theconsequence ofyour reactivebehaviors? Mistrust Hurt feelings Missed facts Culture corrosion Misunderstanding Attrition Disengagement Recovery cyclesSensationReactionBehaviorImpact
  13. 13. Know Your Work StressorsWhat triggers or amplifies your stress?Stressors at work can be compounded by stressors from home.Physical Lack of sleep Hunger Lack of exercise Poor healthPersonal Kid challenges Partner issues Family member health scare Financial challengesWork Lack of control or facts Being blindsided or surprised Ever-changing priorities and constant shifting Lack of accomplishment Misalignment or resistance on the team Pressure to deliver without the capacity Sense of impending failure with no obvious pathto recover Coworkers or team members that exacerbate oramplify our stressors
  14. 14. Stress Awareness Can Bring Insights & EnableThoughtful Action & CommunicationSensationOBSERVE1. Without reacting tothe sensation,observe your physicalresponse to stress.2. Be curious about itwithout trying toescape or reject it.3. Dont rush intoreaction mode;intercept theemotional reaction.Breathe.Reaction Behavior ImpactDISTILL1. Separate thesensation from thefacts.2. What is the trigger?Is it an authenticbusiness problem?What are the facts orare you missingfacts? Clinically lookat the facts andtriggers for theirbusiness value.3. If you need fresh airor a nights sleep,give yourself the time before acting.PLAN1. Rather than react toyour discomfort,consider the bestcourse of action forthe business.2. What action isappropriate for thefacts (including thefact that you donthave the facts)?3. Decide what coursecorrection is neededto address the rootbusiness issue.ACT1. Making institutionalchange is often lesswork than the cycle ofreaction/recovery foryou and the team.2. Communicate thechange needed toaddress the rootbusiness issue.3. Incorporate methodsto sustain the changeif the root issue orstressor is chronic.PausePause
  15. 15. Choose Where Your Attention & Energy GoOBJECT ACTIONSpin cycle Resolution path
  16. 16. Practice HelpsBuild physical awareness to detect the stress response faster(before reacting to it)1. Several times a week, begin your day with mindfulness practice.Sit comfortably and quietly for 2 to 5 minutes; observe the feelings and sensations thatarise. Identify them and let them go; notice that they arise and dissipate without anyeffort on your part. Getting more familiar with this cycle2. Prevent stress magnifiers such as lack of sleep, hunger or lack of exercise.Recognize how these conditions amplify anxieties so be more vigilant about when theyexist. Schedule meetings or work stressor activities when you are most likely to besuccessful; moving a meeting to after lunch or after getting a briefing on key facts maybe more efficient that recovering when the meeting goes badly!
  17. 17. Practice Helps3. Notice your physical response day to day.Next time you trip, youre running late, youre startled or other purely physical stressor,observe what happens immediately its a great opportunity to observe the rise inblood pressure, flush, faster breathing and other physical stress changes. Thisobservation will help you detect the same response to work stressors and intercept yourautomatic reaction.4. When you sense stress rising beyond your comfort zone, stop and step out of theenvironment.A short walk and fresh air create space to process the sensation without acting on itimpulsively. Pre-empt stress breakdowns in situations you know will be challenging, bytaking the walk before the meeting or trigger event.5. Remember you can choose what you give attention and energy to.Make a conscious effort to shift your attention from the stress object to thoughtful, fact-basedaction. Rather than viewing stress as a problem, view it as a tool. Sometimesthis simple shift in perception produces great relief!
  18. 18. Over time, the stress sensation shrinks and thetime from stress to best action gets shorterOBJECTACTIONSpin cycle Resolution path
  19. 19. Know What Makes You HappyWhat aspects of work do you enjoy most? Clarity on the purpose for your efforts Sense of accomplishment Succeeding as a team Overcoming obstacles Coaching and mentoring Sense of camaraderie Balanced challenges Knowing you make a difference for customers or the organization __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________
  20. 20. Take responsibility for your experience:Create or cultivate the conditions forenjoyment and satisfaction.
  21. 21. With a more clinical view of the root business issue,evaluate whether the entire team experiences thesame triggers and stress.
  22. 22. To reduce stressors for the entireteam, institutionalize these: Clear goals andexpectations Transparency culture Alignment practices Individual accountability Shared commitments Discipline to prioritize Consistent, constructivefeedback
  23. 23. Changing habitual and instinctiveresponses takes willpower.It wont happenovernight; you wontget it right every time.But you can do better over time!1. Recognize the business and careerbenefits of higher awareness2. Commit to changing your pattern3. Build skill catching yourself at thephysical change and lengtheningthe pause before acting.4. Value your progress and awareness.
  24. 24. Want More Alignment & Transparency to ReduceStress across The Team?My IndividualTo Do ListProgressTransparencyTeams Goals &PrioritiesGet Workboard, a free app for teams that:1. Links the ubiquitous to do list with team goals and priorities2. Simplifies prioritization and calibration3. Automates status reports and provides team transparency4. Enables consistent, constructive feedback less mystery and drama, more achievement.
  25. 25. 25The Zen of Achievementor Zen and Achievement!Learn more