Stress and Leadership – Measuring the impact on self, what about others?

by Apr 25, 2011Insights, Leadership, Performance Management, Self awareness

A thought hit me several months ago – If being a CEO is such a difficult job (it is), then what the divorce rate is versus other jobs?  As it turns out a study was done, and chief executives had a 40% lower divorce rate than the overall average of all occupations in the study.  Their rate was 70% lower than dancers, bartenders, and massage therapists.  Here is a link to the study. Based on this measure, it can be said that leaders personally handle a lot of stress.

Conversation done?  Not exactly.  In working with teams and leaders I have seen it from another perspective.  What is the effect of a stressed leader on the rest of the organization.  For leadership and team development I use a tool called the Birkman Method.  The advantage I have found in this assessment is that Dr. Roger Birkman has found a way to measure not only surface behaviors, but underlying needs and the stress behaviors that result from needs not being met.  Here is an example.

Many senior leaders I have worked with have a work pace that is very fast, and have a high need for practical and tangible results. The Birkman uses phrases like a need for practical results, opportunities for physical action, and activities that focus on practical results.  When these needs are not met, Birkman describes the stress behaviors as acts without thinking, generates restless tension, and impatient/edgy

While leaders have to be able to handle lots of stress, do these behaviors sound familiar?  What is the impact of these behaviors on a team?  Peer relationships?  An organization?

It is great leaders can handle the stress.  But what about the impact it has on everything else?

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