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Every leader faces stress. It comes with the territory. The key is to not take it personally or let it get the best of you; leaders can’t be optimally effective when emotions interfere with their judgment or decision-making.

Endless demands at home and work are enough to keep the average corporate-executive perpetually stressed and mentally taxed. However, when stress and exhaustion is projected into hurtful words or actions, the effects can become disastrous.

As humans, our emotions are inextricably tied to our actions.  Knowing that, once damaging emotions can be identified, the effect they have on your leadership role becomes more clear and correctable. For example, anxiety not only interferes with decisions, it demonstrates an air of unreliability that erodes trust. Distrust causes fear, resentment and disengagement in people. Workforce productivity and morale suffer under these conditions, which causes more fear, replaying a vicious cycle.

Fortunately, there are steps leaders can take to strengthen their emotional health and prevent emotions from making stressful moments even worse. 

As I share with my coaching clients [link to my services page], filtering out stress and negative emotions becomes easier when trials are treated as self-teachable moments requiring calm rather than reflex. Learning to filter negative emotions brings forth more positive, helpful ones. This creates a more inviting and engaging culture, where people and their perspectives are valued. Become an expert in your emotional state.  These are all behaviors worth practicing and perfecting.

Taking responsibility for your responses requires forethought and practice at taking a step back to think—before acting.  A key to enduring under stress is to evaluate situations as objectively as possible; stepping back to grasp the importance of a rational response, and maintain a strong, consistent composure,. Ask yourself: “How am I feeling right now?” Emotions are important for a leader but must be balanced with other traits.  In Emotional Health & Leadership, the Global Leadership Foundation asserts that positive emotions, rational thought, and gut feelings all have a role in judgment and decision-making. Emotionally healthy leaders flex to the achieve balance in each situation.  But, what’s the right balance for you?  Well, it’s personal and individual; like people… 

Start here by taking the Fight or Flight Quiz – understanding your reactions under stress is the first step in balancing them.

A leader who is emotionally healthy has the best opportunity to lead a healthy organization, and a healthy life.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you!

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