That sinking feeling in your stomach; that unwillingness to get out of bed; dragging yourself at work; increased heartbeat, sleepless nights, sweaty palms, hair turning grey, and stomach problems – this is all STRESS!
Sadly we don’t know anyone who hasn’t suffered from it all! In fact, it would be safe to say that stress is on the rise, especially in workplaces. We can blame it on the faster pace of work and life or more competition or the corporate rat race or even our personal relationships – whatever may the reasons be, the bottom line is that STRESS seems to be GROWING!
Here in this article, we will focus on some of the main stress-inducing situations in an office scenario AND some tips to help you reduce it (or at the very least manage it better) –
One of the most significant sources of stress is the BOSS (a US-based study reported that over a third of surveyed workers cited their boss as the primary source of their work-related stress). As your boss or senior management has the most control or say in what you do at work, how well you are treated, and your long-term career prospects, it is not surprising that difficult bosses can become a major source of worry.
Apart from team leads and HoDs, conflict with colleagues can also lead to a toxic work atmosphere, which will undoubtedly increase the stress in your daily work life.
What can you do?
First off, keeping quite and bottling it all up is NOT going to help. The stress will only keep increasing, and it is better to be upfront about your problems when they are small and manageable rather than when they get out of hand.
If your boss is inadvertently causing stress but is intrinsically a nice, reasonable person, then it might be useful to sit down and have a simple chat. It would also be helpful to chat about your problems with some close colleagues and enlist their help when things start getting stressful – for example, with late-night shifts or deadlines. It might seem a bit aggressive, but setting some boundaries can be helpful in the long run – for example, if you have to get back home at a certain time, but long meetings or last-minute work always creates difficulties, then talking about your time constraints openly is best. Try to find a flexible way to manage work such as coming in early, taking on a different role, or working from home.
If, on the other hand, your boss's personality is difficult to deal with, then there isn't much you can do to change him/her or your situation. The short term solution is to learn to deal with moods, predict personality traits, and keep yourself calm. In the long-run, moving to another department or a different company altogether is the only permanent solution.
Too much work, impossible deadlines, long work hours, and working with too few resources or staff are all unreasonable situations at work that induce stress.
While you might be able to manage working beyond your capacity or abilities for a while, it is bound to create a problematic situation when it becomes a long term expectation.
Setting expectations and time limits are the only ways ahead. Every job has situations where you will be asked to extend yourself to do more – peak season in retail or a new project or client with a tight deadline. All employees understand this and are generally OK with it too. The problem only starts when you go from one stressful project to another and from one deadline to another; when the team size remains small, but the workload keeps increasing. In these situations, you have to speak to the senior management and present your problem along with solutions.
In the current work culture where working long hours is a badge of indispensability and almost a status symbol signaling one's importance in a company, personal life usually suffers. This competition to work extra-long starts when most people are young and can sustain this lifestyle, but when families come into the picture, it becomes challenging to maintain a balance.
What can one do?
First and foremost, get a sound support system in place to manage whatever home related work you can outsource. Spend extra to get better and more reliable help. With external help in place, set your limits. This could be how many days a month you will travel or sacrosanct family times such as weekends or late evenings.
Career-wise you might have to re-evaluate how you can cut down or accommodate your family's needs with your work schedule. Ultimately every person must decide their priorities themselves. But it's important to sit down and plan what you want to do, what are your life's must-haves, and what you are willing to let go off. Once you have that clearly defined, the next step is to go about finding the smoothest path to achieve the best work-life balance.
Stress will always be there! Whether you are the CEO or the new intern – everyone has some problems they are dealing with and some tensions they are living under. No one is exempt, but some do manage to seem less stressed and happier. This is only because they have the mindset and the drive to change their situations. Stress is a symptom of loss of control; when you feel that you can’t change a bad situation and are stuck in it. Always know that YOU have the reins of your life; YOU are in the driver's seat, and the choice to change is YOURS.
Approach your problems with a positive attitude and look for solutions – they will seem less stressful.
If things seem overwhelming and you need to reduce stress immediately, then learning ways to de-stress from a professionally trained coach is the best way forward. Request a complimentary consultation by clicking the button above.
We've all been there: you invest in a leadership training program and hope to see the promised results. But, months later, nothing has changed. Meanwhile, your team is still struggling with communication and collaboration issues.
Did you know that only 50% of leadership training programs yield the desired results? That's a pretty startling statistic, and one that should serve as a wake-up call to any company looking for increased productivity, better employee engagement, and reduced turnover. The reason is simple: Leadership development programs don't always deliver the ROI they promise because they're often designed in isolation from your organization's specific needs.
We all know that leadership training programs are not a one-and-done deal. They require continual reinforcement and upkeep to be effective. But why do they fail in the first place?
It's not just you, it's pretty much everyone else too. Leadership training programs have traditionally failed because of a few key factors. In this blog post, we will share all that can go wrong so that you can create more effective leadership programs by focusing on what matters most to your business. This way, when it comes time for evaluation at the end of your program, you'll know whether or not it was worth investing in.
Factors that contribute to the failure of leadership development programs
If the system does not change, it will set people up to fail. Research in the 1950s found that most supervisors regressed to their pre-training views after a while. The only exceptions were those whose bosses practised and believed in the new leadership style the program was designed to teach.
Training programs do not facilitate organizational change. Even well-trained and motivated employees are unable to apply their new knowledge and skills when they return to their units which are entrenched in established ways of doing things. In short, individuals have less power to change the system surrounding them than that system has to shape them. Organizations need “fertile soil” in place before the “seeds” of training interventions can grow.
When organizational change and development efforts are championed by senior leaders then training gains the most traction. That’s because such efforts motivate people to learn and change; create the conditions for them to apply what they’ve learned; foster immediate improvements in individual and organizational effectiveness; and put in place systems that help sustain the learning.
Organizations are systems of interacting elements: Roles, responsibilities, and relationships are defined by organizational structure, processes, leadership styles, people’s professional and cultural backgrounds, and HR policies and practices. All those elements together drive organizational behaviour and performance. If the system does not change, it will not support and sustain individual behaviour change—indeed, it will set people up to fail.
The effectiveness of any manager depends on the clear strategic direction that they have from the top management. Many companies consistently struggle with unclear direction on strategy and values, which often leads to conflicting priorities. This creates confusion and dissipation of valuable resources. When senior executives themselves don’t work as a team and are not fully committed to a new direction or acknowledged necessary changes in their behaviour, it is quite difficult to expect the rest of the managerial team to be able to deliver effectively. The problem then is more about the incongruence between what they learn in the training program and what they see on the ground in their organisation.
Sometimes a top-down or laissez-faire style by the leader prevents honest conversation about problems. Employees hesitate to tell the senior team about obstacles to the organization’s effectiveness. This, coupled with a lack of coordination across businesses, functions, or regions due to poor organizational design and inadequate leadership time and attention to talent issues can create an environment where performance will be hindered, no matter how good the training program is.
Hence while developing leadership programs, it is important to start at the top, ideally through a coaching intervention. Coaching of the senior executives will help bring clarity on the strategic direction and values. This can then be cascaded down to the next few layers through group coaching and training.
By addressing management practices and leadership behaviour that shape the system before training individual employees, leaders create a favourable context for applying the learning. The systemic changes encourage—even require—the desired behaviours.
Too many training initiatives rest on the assumption that one size fits all and that the same group of skills or style of leadership is appropriate regardless of strategy, organizational culture, or CEO mandate.
Context is key. One size does not fit all. Many organizations invest in off-the-shelf programs or send their managers to academic leadership courses offered by well-respected universities without considering the real impact and results they are looking for. While these can be great for the individuals in terms of their personal brand building, it does not serve the purpose for the organization. Companies need to ask themselves what the desired outcome is and how a program will relate to specific organizational goals.
Often, leadership training programs are offered as a one-and-done approach. In other words, you attend a 2-day training and that is the last you hear of it. But while a one-and-done approach satisfies the need to do something, it ignores a critical fact: leadership behaviours and new habits are developed over time. Leadership development is all about creating good leadership habits. As we know habits cannot be changed just from attending a 2-day class.
Effective leadership development needs to be constructed as a learning journey that unfolds over time. But not only this—it should incorporate continuous coaching to help observe and reinforce good habits. It should also provide opportunities for skill practice and application. Nothing can replace on-the-job training and giving real-time feedback.
To ensure success for your team, combine professional development with coaching or mentoring sessions focused on practical application.
So, there you have it – some of the key reasons why your leadership training program may not be delivering the results you are hoping for.
Becoming a more effective leader often requires changing behaviour which also means adjusting underlying mindsets. Identifying some of the deepest, “below the surface” thoughts, feelings, assumptions, and beliefs is usually a precondition of behavioural change—something that’s often missing in leadership courses.
Companies can avoid the most common mistakes in leadership training and increase the odds of success by first doing the groundwork of creating fertile soil for desired change, establishing clarity about strategic direction and values, matching specific leadership skills and traits to the context at hand; embedding leadership development in real work through coaching and mentoring interventions that investigate the mind-sets that underpin behaviour.
For designing effective leadership development programs in Singapore and India, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 is coming to an end and what a year it’s been! The global pandemic has really challenged us in so many ways and it’s been hard for many of us to feel in control as the crisis just drags on. Our businesses have taken a hit but we know that there are many around us who have been hit even harder.
It’s natural then for many business leaders to feel guilty about the hard decisions they’ve had to take in terms of layoffs, closures and disruptions in service. A client of mine had to let go of a senior employee in the US and he knew this meant that the employee had to go back to his home country and his entire life would get disrupted. He was also worried that the employee would no longer have health cover to take care of the special needs of his child. A friend who is the CHRO of a large organisation was distraught when a young employee passed away due to COVID and he felt he couldn’t do anything to save her.
Guilt is an unsettling emotion to deal with. But it’s also a sign that you’re a conscientious leader. While there are many things that are out of your control, one way of dealing with this guilt when it hits you is to re-evaluate and improve the way you approach your employees and company, and demonstrate compassionate leadership in difficult circumstances.
Here are 5 ways in which you can do this:
If you have a small team, it’s possible for you to do so yourself. If you have a large employees base, put together small cross-functional teams to spread out and listen to the wider group. This will help you plan your initiatives better.
When you have no choice but to implement furloughs, reduced hours, or pay cuts, don’t delegate sharing the news to HR - it feels demoralizing, disrespectful, and lacks empathy. If you are responsible for the decision, it is you who should be sharing it. This sends a clear message to not just the people who are impacted but also the others around them and support the morale of the team.
If some of your decisions have gone wrong and negatively affected others, take remedial action as soon as you know or can and do it as publicly as possible. Acknowledge your mistake and then communicate new developments frequently and consistently. Decisions can go either r way based on the limited information that we operate on – you are not expected to be right all the time. But how you own up and make amends is what your team and customers are looking at.
Try and see what benefits can be retained even when someone goes on a furlough or pay cut. Help the ones who’ve been laid off to find new jobs. Provide career transition support wherever possible.
People respond to that. They connect with you and they trust you when you’re being the best version of you. Talk about how you balance your own personal and work commitments. Talk about your own challenges and encourage sharing of tips and resources for managing workload, scheduling and so on. You don’t have to have a stoic mask all the time. Let people know that you also struggle sometimes and that’s okay. That’s being human.
So, to sum it up, it’s understandable if you as a leader are struggling with guilty feelings as you see the disruptions and struggles that the Covid-19 crisis is causing your employees and colleagues, sometimes specifically as a result of your own actions. But if you reframe your feelings of guilt as an opportunity to consciously and thoughtfully make the best decisions possible, communicate clearly, and behave with compassion and concern for both your employees and yourself, then you can help steer their teams and organizations toward better times.
If you want to talk about this, just click on Request Consultation and pick a convenient time for discussion or send me a WhatsApp message using the button above.
Many times, when I bring up coaching with business leaders and owners, they react by saying that I’m doing well. I don’t think I need a coach.
To my mind, there are two possible reasons for this reaction – one, they are not aware about what real coaching is and its benefits, and two, they are not ready to have a hard look at themselves and see what’s not working. They may be afraid of what they might uncover and are happier just coasting along till they are forced to confront these issues.
I always make an effort to explain what real coaching is and how it’s different from having a mentor or guide or just reading self-help books. I also make it a point to share that coaching is not about solving problems. It is about unblocking the realisation of your potential. You can do and achieve much more than what you are doing currently just by getting out of your own way. A coach helps you get out of your own way and go after those big hairy audacious goals.
Ask yourself this
Having a coach is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of ambition, it’s a sign of hunger for bigger impact, it’s a sign of courage to work on oneself.
Go ahead, tell me you don’t need a coach…
Click on the Request Consultation button above for a discovery call.
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