Stressed? Good!

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By Bill Auxier, Ph.D.

INTRA-Personal Leadership is the leadership of self.  Being an effective leader requires a solid foundation of INTRA-Personal Leadership.  The more competent you are at leading yourself, the more effective you can be leading others.  Dealing with stress influences INTRA-Personal Leadership.  Stress can have a negative impact on one’s health and emotional well-being.  Worrying about stress can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Meditation, exercise, massage and other activities have been identified as effective stress reduction strategies.  No matter what you do, stress will be part of a leader’s life.  New research indicates that stress can actually help us be more effective leaders as long as we aren’t afraid of it.


Researchers Shaun Achor and Alia Crum, Ph.D., worked with managers in the investment banking industry.  They divided the group in half and showed one group a video on the benefits of stress; the other group did not see the video and simply continued as usual.  The video on the benefits of stress demonstrated how stress can 1) enhance mental toughness, 2) create a heightened awareness, 3) provide new perspectives and a sense of mastery, 4) strengthen priorities, 5) provide a greater appreciation for life, 6) deepen relationships and 7) provide an increased sense of meaning.  23% of the group that watched the video reported a reduction of stress related health issues; they reported fewer headaches, fewer backaches and less fatigue even though stress levels remained the same.  On-the-job productivity also increased as did life-satisfaction scores.  Members of the other group who did not see the video did not experience any changes in health, productivity or life satisfaction.

Stress is inevitable, but how we deal with it is not.  How you decide to deal with stress can have an impact on you and your effectiveness as a leader.

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