10 Ways Leaders Increase Stress Unnecessarily
The way you think about yourself is the biggest factor in stress and productivity.
Stress isn’t “out there,” it’s inside you.
10 ways to increase stress:
- Hide mistakes.
- Pretend you know.
- Make excuses.
- Expect perfection.
- Ignore progress.
- Worry about image.
- Protect yourself.
- Fake it. Pretend you’re something you’re not.
- Grab the glory.
- Serve yourself.
A corporate leader said there’s freedom in approaching issues, challenges, and problems from a servant-leader prospective. You’re there to help not defend, protect, blame, or excuse.
Stress goes up when you focus on yourself.
Servant-leaders know their purpose is service, not power or position. Freedom is letting go of the need to be something you aren’t.
Servant-leaders focus attention and energy on solutions, not personal agendas. They ask, “What went wrong,” without feeling the need to blame others or hide mistakes. Servant-leaders explore ways to be better without feeling offended they weren’t good enough.
Productivity goes down as fear, politics, and personal agendas go up.
Every mistake you hide prolongs mediocrity.
If you want lower stress and increased productivity, walk into every situation saying to yourself, “I’m here to serve.”
What attitudes increase stress?
How does servant-leadership result in higher productivity?
Video clips of my keynote, “Finding Fire.”
So true. I also find that servant leaders feel extreme pressure/stress when they worry about their teams. For me, the hardest of this is during times of downsizing. then, I think it’s about doing everything in your power to be sure you handling things the best way you can. And to recognize there are some things out of your control and not let them consume you.
Thanks Karin. You added a totally new dimension to stress as it relates to servant-leadership. Glad you joined in.
Given the level of employee engagement it appears that way too many managers increase stress needlessly.
Thanks Bob. I think it’s easy to believe that pressuring people enhances performance, perhaps because it works in the short-term. Cheers
Great list Dan! For me, I would add: “Learning to say NO”. I have a servant attitude, and have the desire to help one and all, which increases my work load. Many irons in the fire leaves little time for personal growth, quality work and time for reflection.
Thanks Dan. Brilliant! It’s so true. Sincere, generous people can over commit. Cheers
Interesting post Dan.
For me, this really ties in to a comment I recently made on one of your other posts regarding answering the question of WHY do we want to lead in the 1st place. (Intention/Purpose)
If it’s to SERVE…we’re on the right track. Anything else is self-serving. (granted, there’s not a human alive that is 100% selfless so for sake of time and space here…grins)
Part of this stress I believe has to do with posturing. And this can often have more to do with our CULTURE then anything else right now.
Example: I once worked on a project for a client and during the course of that project, learned many things that I was completely ignorant of about ‘success’, our culture, business, and many things that are taught and done in that space that can be very misleading and deceptive.
I want to protect privacy of the person so will try to generalize as much as possible.
What turned out is based on appearance, this person had achieved ‘success’. They made it. In reality, this person bought the ILLUSION of success. Literally. Had been ‘mentored’ by a very well known person who gave very bad advice. This person was nearly half a million in debt ‘buying’ this image of success. All the external features. Created some products that were sold as if this person had created them. In reality, none of it was. Someone else did all the writing, creating etc.
And I remember how disturbed I was over this. Because for whatever reason, AUTHENTICITY was not important. APPEARING ‘successful’ was….
Now how does this relate to you post on stress? Because what this person had been duped into doing and pursuing for the sake of ‘success’ was TOTALLY stressful!
And yet to those who didn’t know the truth, if they were to compare their LESS ‘successful’ life to this other person…it creates even MORE stress and for WHAT? For something that isn’t even REAL!
So the lesson is this. Leaders DO create a ton of stress for themselves by trying to pretend or to live up to standards that NO ONE is living and can possibly live. AT least not long term.
When leaders can give themselves permission to quit posturing, they not only save themselves, but they help others too! More people will no longer TRY to live up to the impossible! The ‘fake’.
We don’t HAVE to!
The greatest service we can do for one another is to live as honestly as possible. To quit posturing and faking it. Quit creating illusions of success that are killing people.
That is my hope anyway!
Thanks for starting the conversation Dan.
I appreciate your statement when politics, fear and personal agendas go up, productivity do down. It leads to mediocrity. When people start blaming others, it starts increasing stress. People become cautious and stop working hard. They stop taking risk and hence it lowers productivity, creativity and innovation. And such working style is undesirable attitude. I think the most common attitude that increase stress at workplace is making predisposition about event, incidences or people in case anything goes wrong. When people starts creating perception, it starts creating unnecessary stress.
Servant leadership create leaders who believe in serving. They set example for others to follow. They do no suffer from power or position. They are people centric and hence believe in developing people. They have desirable attitude that increase productivity that lasts long.
This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you!!!!
Dan , I like your acronym ” Servant Leaders”. It explains clearly what a true leader should be. Another trait of rising stress level is brushing under the carpet a problem thinking that over a period of time the problem will solve itself instead of realising it will come back to haunt us in a bigger way.
I read your posts with great interest. I´m not sure if I follow you 100% in your servant leader thinking. Facilitating for my staff is always important, and using their individual strengths to create the strongest and most efficiant team for solving our task. But I think that at some point a leader needs to be clear on what´s expected from the employes, and tone down the servant attitude. I would appreciate an article foucusing on the balance between servant leadership and the occasional “this is how it´s expected”-leadership.
Another thing to consider as we lead our teams: The greater good is motivating your team and improving the aggregated team’s results than looking to improve only your own standing. It’s definitely not managing from the top of the pyramid, but being in the middle of the team, not as the focal point of attention, but in the center encouraging the team through both your words and actions. It can be done through quiet strength, that is meekness which is not weakness.
Wow – you hit the nail on the head with this one: “Pretend you know.”
How do you strike a balance between leading with confidence (even with uncertainty and gaps in knowledge about the present situation or expectations about the future) and the “pretend you know” recommmendation?
I also find where a company is a Not For Profit, when success is achieved by in the field operators, that success is used to leverage further funding and /or media coverage. It can be stressful for workers who are building relationships with people, to pass on community success outcomes and then feel they are exploited for marketing purposes.
It’s a Catch 22. We need the funding and marketing and it is the real life outcomes that generate support, but it can be stressfu for those servant leaders building community capacity/ community partnerships.
Do you have any thoughts on this?
Another wonderful post this. Focusing on the solution without assigning blame (on ourselves and others) is so stress-relieving indeed…