February 21, 2014

Should a leader take all the stress?

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

The position of a leader is one of the most stressful one in any setting. A leader is under constant stress of meeting deadlines, accomplishing the tasks, resolving conflicts within the team and keeping the team motivated. As a leader of one of the student’s society in my university, I experienced that stressful position. Not only your team members but others around you expect a lot from a leader. The spotlight on the leader sometimes puts the leader in a very stressful situation.

The way I dealt with stressful position was that I would try to deal with stress alone and not tell any of my team members. Some students had just joined the society as executive VPs in order to show it on their CVs. They were not interested in working for the society, and would work very half-heartedly. I had told each member to keep themselves free every week on one specific day and time. One week everyone forgot about the meeting, as it was thanksgiving, even the person who was supposed to remind everyone of the meeting. I called that person and reminded her about the meeting, only to find out that she had kept a thanksgiving dinner at her house and completely forgot about the meeting. I called other team members and found out that they all had other commitments for the evening. I was a bit irritated by the fact that everyone forgot about the meeting since we had to take very important decisions during that meeting. I had to cancel that meeting and so no decisions were taken as a group. I took the decision about the next event and planned it out myself. Unfortunately the event had to be canceled due to rain. In the next meeting, my co-president got into a heated argument with one of the team members. I had to get involved to stop the argument. The meeting continued but once I left I got a phone call from that particular team member that she was resigning. I tried to stop her but she was very adamant so I stopped convincing her to stay. As soon as she left there was a little tension in the group. Some members lost their motivation and one of them stopped attending meetings. There was one more resignation from another team member later during the year. I would just like to add that I was friends with all the team members before I started working with them, which is why we sometimes had very informal meetings. During the year, I went through all these rough times, but I refrained from discussing the issues with my team members who were still motivated. I had stopped delegating work to the members who were not interested and started taking care of that myself along with other members who still showed some interest. We managed to pull of a great year, ending with a great end year party and a large sum of money was donated to a charitable organization. It would not have been possible without my team member who were with me till the end. If I look back at that year, it was a tough time for me, but I would say I handled the pressure well. Even though I seemed under pressure I would do my best to not show my team how stressed I was.

When this topic came up in class, I wondered whether I should have shared my state of pressure with my team or not. And after our discussion I can say that it is the urgency of tasks that needs to be shared within the team and not the stress. There are some people who don’t handle stress well, hence they must be told how important the task is and its urgency. A cool leader can get the most creativity out of his team whereas a stressed leader would only result in fearful team members who would be afraid of the consequences of their actions.

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