How Should Leaders Exercise Effective Stress Management?

Leaders - Stress Management

Do you ever have days where stress feels like it’s taking over? As a leader, you’re not alone. Leading others in today’s business world is not for the faint of heart; as a business owner, I get it.

Managing stress seems to be part of everyone’s job description. But don’t sweat it cause I’m excited to share with you three practical strategies around self-awareness, leadership clarity, and effective habits to help you minimize stress and maximize performance.

At the end of this video, you can access a simple leadership exercise to help you quickly build engagement with your team—now that’s something that makes leadership easier!

Self-Awareness – #1 Stress Management toolEffective stress management for leaders

My first tip to reduce leadership stress is to improve your self-awareness. Dr. Tasha Eurich calls it the “meta-skill of the 21st Century,” However, her research shows that only 10% to 15% of professionals are truly self-aware. I find that statistic shocking. Learning about your patterns, preferences, triggers, and reactions is crucial for learning to manage your stress. 

I recently worked with John, a CEO who would get tense and impatient during meetings with his team. After learning about his working style, he recognized that he preferred conversations at a much higher elevation – focusing on strategy and brainstorming solutions to problems. Most of his team was energized by tactical day-to-day issues and ensuring projects stayed on track. Through his work with us, John learned that these perspectives are important, and adjustments to their meeting structure dramatically decreased his stress.

Creating Clarity – #2  Stress Management Toolclarity in leadership

My second tip to reduce leadership stress is creating clarity. When you read about stress and burnout, you’ll often hear about the importance of prioritization and delegation. However, ensuring your executives are completely aligned around what’s most important is an essential first step to knowing how to prioritize and delegate your work. Clarity around the one thing your leadership team wants to accomplish over the next six months is the antidote to being too busy. This level of focus clears away everything except the goal.

This reminds me of a young and vibrant organization I worked with that had a team of people so deeply committed to their vision that they were all running themselves ragged. They constantly introduced new projects, events, and initiatives, and their team couldn’t keep up. Once the leadership team took the time to determine their rallying cry, they were able to communicate priorities to their staff, share the workload, and provide the support everyone needed.

Building More Effective Habits – #3 Stress Management Tool Changing habits

And finally, my third tip to reduce leadership stress is to focus on building more effective habits. Habits
are the behaviours we take every day that support or inhibit our success. I’m sure you’ve set a New Year’s resolution in the past. Research shows that approx. 92% of these resolutions fail by January 21st since we often try to change too many things at once. So my advice is to focus on improving your habits 1% at a time – focusing on one laughably small behaviour shift you can practice daily.

Sarah is a COO who was struggling with time management. Instead of revamping her entire schedule overnight, we helped her select one piece of her day she wanted to improve and used our habit-builder system; she achieved success through consistency. Little changes started to add up over time, her productivity was boosted, and her stress decreased.


To wrap up, leadership stress can be mastered through these three key areas: 

  1. improving your self-awareness 
  2. creating clarity among your leadership team and
  3. building effective daily habits with baby steps

I’d love to hear some of your strategies. Please share them in the comments!

Unsure about how to maximize leadership impact on employee satisfaction?

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a Step-by-Step Guide to Increase Engagement without Overburdening Leaders

It includes a simple leadership exercise to quickly improve the work experience of each employee on your team.

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Finally, please connect if you’d like to discuss how we can help your leadership team achieve your most important strategic goals in 2024.

As your trusted leadership development consultant, NexLevel helps executive leadership teams remove invisible barriers to achieve their most critical strategic goals.

We focus on three essential outcomes required to achieve sustainable business success:

  • Healthy Workplace
  • Team Performance
  • Measured Success

You can Create a Healthier, more
Successful Organization.

And you don’t have to do it alone.