September 16th, 2013
By Carol Spiers
Running a company – however large or small – is a demanding role. You have to manage market volatility, an uncertain economy and the occasional crisis whilst at the same time consolidating growth and effectively managing the business.
The chances are that you are working at a frenetic pace and regularly have to face both new threats and opportunities at the same time. These days running a business also means appearing positive and totally committed 24/7 – regardless of whether you are having a good day or not.
So if you are running a business or in a senior position helping to drive a company forward the pressure is constant and could be considered an occupation hazard. Some people appear to thrive on daily pressure and don’t let it turn into stress but for others it can result in insomnia, lack of concentration, physical ailments and general irritability.
For some denial is the easiest solution. ‘It will go away’ they say to themselves. Even if other colleagues bring it to their attention, they will probably convince themselves that they are OK, the problem is with everyone else! Often the actual source of the stress can be hard to pin down. If left to fester, this can have a ‘knock-on’ effect on relationships with loved ones as well as in the workplace.
My Top Ten Stress-Busting Tips
1. Peer group support: The role of the business leader can be isolating so network with your peers. This can help you gain a greater perspective of your own work and possibly obtain other ideas that may help you cope more effectively.
2. Listen to what others are saying about you: It is very easy to go into defensive mode but take heed when someone who you respect recognises a change in your behaviour, and conveys that to you, or to others.
3. Keep a clear focus: Multi-tasking is great but you are probably more productive when you tackle one job at a time.
4. Draw a line: Learn how to recognise situations that are outside of your control and know when to move on. When you’re stuck in a traffic tailback, fuming at the loss of time and inconvenience will not gain you anything, other than possibly an ulcer!
5. Exercise: work-out daily for at least 30 minutes and maybe even get fit enough to run a half marathon. Get others to join you and raise money for charity.
6. Don’t stay late: Everyone is looking to you as their role model, so make sure that you are setting the right example.
7. Planning: This is never easy in a fast-moving marketplace so always have a plan ‘B’ up your sleeve and try and avoid surprises and the inherent stress that goes with them.
8. Be positive: Be aware that everyone is looking to you to motivate and inspire so keep positive people around you. Look for the best in people and avoid ‘glass half-empty’ types. They will usually drain you and certainly will not bring any positive energy to the table.
9. Time Management: Stress often comes from overlapping time-priorities and you will not be as creative and inspirational when your time is not managed effectively. Try working in 2-hour blocks at a time, with short but definitive intervals in between and see how much more productive you become.
10. Learn how to switch off: This is a skill and has to be learnt. You can meditate, cycle, learn yoga or paint – whatever works for you – just do it!
About Carole Spiers
Carole Spiers is CEO of stress management consultancy, the Carol Spiers Group. She is an international motivational speaker and a weekly business columnist for Gulf News. Carol is also is a BBC Guest-Broadcaster and best-selling author of a new book Show Stress Who’s Boss!