Know Your Tipping Point, Manage Your Stress

Know Your Tipping Point, Manage Your Stress

11:18 18 January in Leadership & personal Development

by Stefano Petti, Alexander Caillet and Jeremy Hirshberg

For most leaders today, frequent stress is inevitable. But with awareness and a little skill, its negative impacts are not.

Intense negative experiences of stress are all too common. Consider Stefano, co-author of this article. In 1998, Stefano began a career abroad while simultaneously completing an MBA. He worked and studied fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, fueled by a constant flow of stress hormones. By the end of that year, he suffered from fatigue, headaches, impatience, and irritability, yet he ignored his symptoms and kept going. Soon these escalated into full-blown burn-out: dizziness, palpitations, inability to concentrate, panic attacks, apathy, insomnia, and depression. He then decided to take a full six months to rebuild his mental and physical well-being before he could return to work. Stefano learned an important lesson that contributed to a dramatic shift in the way he now manages his life and career.

In our recent global research on leadership and state of mind (States of Mind), we conducted with 740 leaders, 84% reported experiencing stress on a regular basis. As you might expect, more than half of them said stress had a negative impact on their effectiveness, interactions, or business results. However, a substantial number—around 45%—told a different story. In their experience, stress either had no impact on their leadership or had a positive effect. More than 25% said stress actually improved their effectiveness.

What accounts for these results? What are these leaders doing that Stefano did not do? The leaders we’ve worked with over several decades have given us a wide variety of answers. In this post we focus on two: tipping point awareness and stress shifting…

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