Stress is one of the biggest struggles of leaders within organizations (Thompson, 2005). While positive stress can motivate and help accomplishing goals, the negative and chronic stress impacts mental and physical levels of human experience. Prolonged, high amounts of stress are connected to mental and health conditions including anxiety, depression, lowered immune system, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and heart rate (Rook, Hellwig, Florent-Tracy & Vries, 2019). On the level of leaders and top executives, stress affects performance and effectiveness by lowering the sense of control and coping skills. Top executives and leaders become antisocial, their mindset negative, reactions more aggressive which leads to higher stress, lack of home/ work balance which could lead to unnecessary mistakes and burnout (Rook, Hellwig, Florent-Tracy & Vries, 2019).

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence, which is necessary for high performance is affected by stress (Thompson, 2005). Leaders who effectively are using Emotional Intelligence skills outperform leaders who score lower on the Emotional Intelligence tests (Thompson, 2005). Emotional Intelligence is connected to ability to recognize emotions, manage these emotions, develop meaningful relationships, communicate well, cope with problems and create overall success (High Performing Systems, 2019). Leaders and top executives with high Emotional Intelligence skills are able to” read” others better and affect them positively by creating friendly and considerate work settings. They also make better strategic decisions and solve problems faster without frustration (Zhang, Wang, Zhu, & Kim., 2018).

Stress Management

Stress management are techniques used to decrease the effects of stress. By building stress resilience leaders can lower the response to the negative and chronic stress and influence their work performance and effectiveness. The best practices of stress management include awareness, rest, support, exercise (meditation), nutrition, attitude, learning (Thompson, 2010). These all habitual behaviors can build strong stress resilience, impact decision making and create deeper levels of self-acceptance, happiness and self-esteem.

The research about the relationship between stress, performance and stress management is very important because it’s connected to human behavior, well-being and overall happiness. If we know what techniques could help the top leaders and executives, they would be more willing to help themselves, instead of hiding their chronic stress, unwillingness to admit to their loneliness and internal doubts (Rook, et al., 2019). By offering help with stress management they could not only improve their performance but also communication, building better relationships and help the whole organization by creating more positive environments.

Kleins Intuitive Decision Making Process

1. Assess the Situation

Evaluate the situation you are currently in

2. Evaluate Course of Action

Project the possible decision into a possible consequence

3. Select an Option

Choose a positive option

4. Develop a Solution

Think of possible solution and how would it carry out in the real situation

5. Imagine more options

Evaluate each option one by one and imagine it as a real solution to the problem. Does it solve the problem?

6. Chose Option

Think of Other possible Options, one by one, allowing them to be almost like a template. If one option doesn’t work, then discart it and think of new option.

7. Take Action

The best intuitively picked solution is picked and action applied.

Develop Your Resilience

Strengthening the Resilience and ability to to cope with stress can be one of the best ways to help in increasing performance, becoming better with decision making and creating great relationships

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Rook, C., Hellwig, T., Florent-Treacy, E., & de Vries, M. K. (2019). Workplace stress in senior executives: Coaching the “uncoachable.” International Coaching Psychology Review14(2), 7–23.

Thompson H. (2010). The Stress Effect: why Smart Leaders make Dumb Decisions- and what to do about it. Jossey- Bass Books and Products, San Francisco, CA

Wenhui Zhang, Shuyao Wang, Yumeng Zhu, & Kihwan Kim. (2018). The Moderating Effect of Emotional Intelligence on the Performance of Top Management Team. International Journal of Business & Public Administration15(1), 95.

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