Edited April 12, 2021
As a leader, stress is inevitable. However, it is what you do with that stress that makes all the difference. You can either let stress take you down, or you can let it energize and motivate you. Whatever you do, don’t freak out.
The leaders we most admire are those who remain composed when the potential for anxiety is high.
Before starting my business, I spent six years at Accenture, one of the world’s largest management consulting firms. How large? Over 300000 employees and nearly $35 billion in revenue.
Peter Drucker said that consulting companies’ problem is that when you build the beast, you have to feed the beast. Partners at Accenture were under tremendous pressure to both deliver value to our clients and generate more revenue…always in that order.
The Stress Toll
During my last two years at the firm, I served as Accenture’s first full-time internal executive coach. I had a clientele of 35 partners and associate partners. I can tell you that many partners felt the pressure to grow the business. Stress takes a toll. Often that toll is felt most by the people being led by the leader. The default option for a lot of leaders is to externalize their stress toward the people they lead. If you’ve ever gotten your head bitten off by your boss or watched your boss freak out over some minor mistake, you’ve experienced your leader’s stress firsthand.
The leaders we most admire are those who remain composed when the potential for anxiety is high. We feel most confident in our leaders when they are levelheaded and reasonable. In my case, the leader who made the best and biggest impression on me was Hines Brannan. He had (and still has) humble confidence that only years of experience can give a leader. Discover more about this influential man.
The default option for a lot of leaders is to externalize their stress toward the people they lead.
Who is the levelheaded leader who made all the difference in your life? Who is the leader who refused to freak out? Share your thoughts in the comments.
My advice to leaders everywhere: Don’t freak out.