When we worked on our #FirstTimeManager series last year, there was something that we said we would come to as a series by itself. Over a year later and enriched with multiple conversations on challenges managers face, we look at performance anxiety and stress, which peak in managers, leaders and founders.
During this #mentalhealthmonth, as we tackle stress management and why it means different things to different people, we take a look at the daily stressors of a leadership role and some ways to tackle them.
Look for your specific trigger in the list below- and there can be many- and find ways to address the issue.
There’s Never Enough Time To Get Everything Done
Time is one of those finite resources whose finiteness most often comes to the fore on Monday mornings. Ask any good leader and they will tell you how at least one day every week is occupied by tasks they never planned for.
The solution, then, is simple. Best to leave that day alone and not schedule anything, wouldn’t you agree? Seems unrealistic? Split into more comfortable chunks. Give yourself a couple of hours every day to tackle a crisis or surprises. Just that little bit of buffer in your calendar can significantly soothe the feeling of always being on the run.
Time is a stressor because tasks can quickly snowball when left to their own devices. Also, when tasks involve more than one person or team, a delay from one end can cause exponential delays across the board. Leaders, who often have the undesirable job of being answerable to others, have to spend even more time explaining, and the cycle continues.
The solution? Well, you’re in luck because we just did our series on time management which covers everything from energy and alignment to the Eisenhower Grid. Take a look here.
I Feel Like I’m Responsible For Everything
This is a problem most commonly reported by startup founders and those who have built the business up from scratch. They are quite used to doing most things by themselves until the fine day arrives when they realise that they have too much on their plate.
Hiring right is the perfect solution to relieve stress in this area. What’s more, hiring good people and delegating to them allows your business to thrive from the expertise, while also allowing you to focus on building the bigger picture.
Many leaders feel like they are neglecting the long-term vision in the interest of short-term fires. However, the best thing to do here is to hire an excellent firefighter and let them do their job even as you do yours.
To be sure, hiring good talent is never easy (and we’ll probably do a series on that soon). It is worth digging deep into your networks and talking to several people when hiring for positions of greater responsibility. Some leaders even choose to hire others from their Alma Mater or even a past workplace since they have more experience with these people and the systems they come from.
No One Can Do The Job As Well As I Do
This is the most common affliction that creative professionals and others who work in the abstract services space face all the time. After all, the line between extraordinary work and good work is often hard to define and the results are often the only way to decide what works and what doesn’t. However, this way of thinking also contributes immensely to stress because you invariably end up doing everything yourself, which again causes stress on time and the story goes on… There are a few different ways to address this issue:
If you are a perfectionist, actively make an effort to see someone else’s work objectively. While it is tempting to think that our approach is the only one that works, it is worth seeing things from the perspective of someone else’s learnings and expertise.
Do you often say, “I wish I could have more people like me!”? Well, you cannot, so the next best thing to do is hire those who are good at their jobs. Good leaders know the value of differing opinions and actively seek them out.
What other common stressors do you experience in your role as a manager/ leader?