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6 Ways to Manage Leadership Stress (BusinessWeek)

419733435_840aa45b0e_bThere’s no doubt about it: challenging times like these create incredible stresses on leaders at all levels in the organization. John R. Ryan, president of the Center for Creative Leadership offers some ideas about ways to cope in an article titled Six Ways to Manage Leadership Stress on BusinessWeek Online (January 9, 2009) Here are some of my thoughts about Ryan’s:

  • Maintaining perspective – The Plato quote captures Ryan’s first piece of advice. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
  • Exercising –  Healthy body, healthy mind.
  • Opening up – Ryan writes “the more you unburden yourself, the better you’ll feel. The more your colleagues know about what’s going on, whether it’s good or bad, the better they’ll feel.” I’d add a note of caution here because the things that often cause most of the stress can’t always be shared with others within the organization. Also, many people don’t want to hear about your challenges because they usually have plenty of their own. Do seek out a mentor or confidant but look for someone you trust and respect outside of the organization.
  • Welcoming feedback – This is a counterintuitive high-risks strategy but one with which I agree. Accepting feedback opens up communication within the organization and fosters a freer flow of information which is always beneficial for leaders.
  • Streamlining – K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simply Stress-less)
  • Recharging – There is probably nothing more important for leaders over the long haul than finding appropriate and effective ways to recharge. If at all possible, set aside time for this from a personal and professional perspective and both you and the organization will benefit.

John R. Ryan previously served as chancellor of the State University of New York and superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. He was a pilot during a 35-year in the Navy, retiring as a vice-admiral. Please take the time to read his article.

Photo credit: stressed by rick on

About the author

Peter A. Mello, Founder/Editor Founder of Weekly Leader and Sea-Fever Consulting, LLC, a leadership development and strategic communications consultancy. Previously, CEO of an international nonprofit organization and COO of a national insurance/risk management services firm. Peter has been leading people and managing organizations for over 30 years, writes a leadership column for MarineNews magazine and blogs about maritime culture at Sea-Fever. Follow him on Twitter.

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Posted in Business, General Leadership, Toolbox.