Regardless of the industry, most leaders today face an enormous amount of pressure on a daily basis. This is because of the level of responsibility they assume for their personal performance as well as the performance of their team, and their companies. Some members of the business community believe that feeling under pressure can motivate leaders and their teams to take steps to improve performance.
Research has shown, however, that over time, the strain of being under constant pressure typically has a negative impact upon the physical and/or mental well-being of a leader. Constant pressure also tends to result in a decrease in overall performance.
This is why it is critical for leaders at all levels to find healthy ways to relieve the effects of stress and the other strains that come with being in a leadership position. Unfortunately, when it comes to pressure, many leaders are their own worst enemy, and actually take actions that increase the amount of pressure that they must deal with on a day to day basis.
If you are one of those leaders, here is an effective strategy to help you lighten your load.
Coach and mentor your team
One quality that separates a leader from a manager is that they are not there to just oversee or direct work. One of the main functions of a leader is to act as a facilitator; to help develop your people, to build connections between people and resources, and then leverage these networks to increase performance.
Rather than attempting to be the sole leader, you can reduce the pressure you face and increase the performance of the team by acting as a coach or mentor. Help your team members learn to solve their own problems instead of coming to you for the answers.
Empower your team
You may be used to completing all the tasks on your own, or closely supervising your team members to make sure they do it properly. Doing it all, however, cheats both leaders and the teams that they lead.
As a leader, it is more important to focus on recruiting or building the talent within your team, empowering them to act and develop their own leadership skills. When you delegate tasks to others, and share authority and responsibility, you allow your people to think for themselves. They can start practicing other skills such as creative problem solving, communication, and determination, which are critical to the development of future leaders.
Coaches and mentors encourage their teams to focus on self-improvement. They help team members to step out of their “comfort zones” and try new things, learn new skills and embrace risk when there is the opportunity for growth and advancement.
As a coach or mentor, you are there to guide them as needed, rather than to supervise their work. This way, you are building an independent and capable team. You are also easing your own work load by focusing on long term development instead of the detail of daily work.
While your team members benefit dramatically from coaching/mentoring, and learning to function independently, you benefit too.
As staff morale increases through the newly developing confidence, absenteeism will drop. There will be fewer crises to cope with, and you’ll notice an improvement in the way your team works together. As their skill levels grow, the demand on your time will reduce, leaving you free to do the work you should have been doing. You will be free to lead from the front rather than push your team along from the rear.
You are setting the stage for greater innovation, higher profit margins and more sustainable growth for you and your organisation! And it all happens simply changing the way you work. Lighten your load, boost your workforce and practice your role as coach or mentor.
If you would like some help to polish your coaching and mentoring skills, speak to Linda about her one-on-one executive coaching opportunity today.