I just googled that question – no relevant content appeared on the first page of Google. I only found articles on the 5 or 12 things leaders should be doing, right now, to support their team and lead their business to success. I also found what employees really need to hear from leaders right now and how leaders need to support their employees.
Okay, maybe my search terms were too vague. Let’s try again.
How do business leaders cope with change? The same google results and content pop up. Finally, after two minutes of searching, changing the phrases or questions and reading articles that have not enlightened me, I googled “How do business leaders look after themselves?” and “How do business leaders manage stress?” and I managed to find a few posts in a sea of unrelated content that focused on the business leader as a human being instead of the just the normal “how to lead during a time of crises and what to do for your company and team now” articles.
Yes, those articles are important too for educational purposes, as leaders are supposed to help their people manage stress or change and crises better in their working environment, Yes it is important to the business and leaders need to consider the professional and emotional wellness of their teams – but who is reciprocating and looking after the their wellness?
This is what I am trying to find out. As a business coach, I support and guide business owners and leaders with their decision making and strategies, but maybe there is something more that I can be doing or something that can be done differently, hence my little experiment on the internet.
My research continues. Many of the articles on managing stress physically are self-explanatory; delegate your work, exercise, take up a hobby, spend time with family, rest, go on holiday, read a book and eat healthy. This is indeed sound advice and something that we all should be doing, but the reality is that real life is a bit different.
The one factor which is always a major concern when I begin the coaching journey with my clients is TIME. There is never enough time to get things done, things go wrong and the unexpected happens. Taking a holiday is the last thing on my client’s mind and if they did manage to squeeze in a holiday, the stress would still be there and then bombard them a few days before returning to work as they constantly worry about their business while they are supposed to be relaxing.
How many business owners and leaders do you know of that have sacrificed their families or mental and physical health in order to keep a business running and, ultimately, were these sacrifices worth it?
What I love most about my work (besides helping entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders grow profitable businesses) and what is more rewarding to me as a person, is the fact that business coaching helps business owners free up their time so that they can start working on the business and not just in the business as an employee. Leaders must lead their teams effectively which will reduce the stress factor.
Having the right business coach, helps build your confidence that the business with your teams focus will run smoothly in your absence so you can take that holiday, work on your personal health and recharge your batteries the way you are supposed to because your business and team is working for you and not the other way around.
Interestingly enough I came across a white paper from the Centre for Creative Leadership titled “The Stress of Leadership”. Although the research was conducted overseas, the data accumulated will resonate with most business owners and leaders locally in South Africa.
Some food for thought; by reviewing the above percentages on how an organization assists leaders in managing stress, I can foresee a catch 22 situation with most of the stress management scenarios if factors such as balance, time management or strategic planning are not incorporated into the daily, weekly or monthly activities of leaders. If there is no support or guidance for leaders, there will be no time to take holidays, make use of the gym or manage the work-life balance ratio because leaders will find themselves working harder and not smarter.
Furthermore, one of the recommendations from the CCL on managing stress – besides looking after your health and diet – is to invest in a coach to guide leaders to focus on priorities from a time management perspective and from a business perspective. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Having a support structure in place is paramount to every person’s personal and professional well-being. The recovery period from not having any support system in place is costly and longer, and the consequences that affect a leader personally and the business are far greater if this issue is not addressed so start looking after yourselves now and make rational decisions that will support you going forward.
We are all human. Everyone needs that pillar of strength in life to rely on – whatever it may be.
Have you identified yours or has the realisation sunk in that you need to find one soon?