How much energy do you waste through the week feeling stressed, frustrated and over reacting? These fight or flight responses, which are meant to be short lived and sporadic, are not only exhausting if felt for a prolonged period of time, they damage our performance and they stop really good people from becoming outstanding leaders.
Neuroscientist Dr Matthew Lieberman of UCLA, has found that when we suffer prolonged stress, we experience a deficit in our problem solving similar to a 10-15 point drop in our IQ which impacts our “higher level” thinking, such as logic, decision making, creativity and judgement.
So how do you manage your emotions when the pressure is high? Here are some of my top tips.
I’m fortunate enough to have spent my career working with some incredible leaders. These leaders have truly appreciated the significance of their role as the emotional steer – the person who sets an emotional climate where people can thrive. They have been the Chief Emotions Officer of their team.
Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of having a manager who creates a negative climate, where fear, uncertainty and stress are the norm. Hopefully we have also worked for a leader who exudes enthusiasm, passion and warmth and who can only be described as an emotional magnet. These emotionally intelligent leaders, or Chief Emotions Officers, are the ones we want to stay working for and to whom we will give our best effort.
This week is Mental Health Awareness week, a topic that lies at the heart of Zenergos as we aim to boost energy, well-being and productivity levels, and help the people and companies we work with to thrive. There has been an increase in workplace stress, particularly with our move towards an ‘always on’ culture. This impacts personal well-being which has a negative effect on the level of high performance being attained and maintained in the workplace, with our top talent often ending up burnt out.
At Zenergos, we believe we are making steps to address these issues as we offer strategies to improve the energy and wellbeing across teams.
So what really drives you? This blog will help you to determine your Core Values, so that you can tap into more of this purpose filled energy.
The overall aim is not only to help you identify your Core Values or True North, but also to look at whether your values are currently being met and what actions you can take to live more of a values led, energising life.
Teams and organisations with a clearly defined set of values are able to recruit, retain and engage people with similar values to the team. This makes for a highly successful, highly energised group of people.
Research shows that having a sense of purpose is really good for our health! It reduces stress and depression, improves short term memory and mental speed, helps us sleep better, cope better with life’s hic-ups and helps us age more successfully. It also importantly reduces our chances of having heart disease, stokes, developing Alzheimer’s or dying prematurely.
Many of us spend too much time trying to find that one true purpose in life. However Stretcher in his book Life on Purpose, recommends setting a different purpose for each off the four domains of our lives: family, personal, work and community, again creating a balance, something that we feel very strongly about at Zenergos.
How often do we truly pause from our busy lives to distress and re-energise? As I look through the calendars of my clients, I see a day back to back with meetings, and not a break in sight… not even for lunch and often not even time to go to the bathroom. And we are not much better in our ‘downtime’ – checking phones for emails, worrying about work, looking after our families, keeping up with friends. Busy has almost become part of who we are.
Put simply if we want sustained high performance this is not the way to go about it. We know that stress reduces our IQ by 10-15 points and tiredness affects all aspects of our performance, including creativity and problem solving by up to 50%. What we need to do is pause, reflect and consider every day, what are we doing for ourselves to recharge our batteries.
Here are 6 great habits to get into, including some bad ones to break, to ensure you wake up fully energised and refreshed from a good night’s sleep.
1. Make your bedroom a Technology Free Zone
One of the worst habits that many of us have is checking our phones and other devices, just before we go to sleep. In fact, on a course that I recently ran, one lady even admitted to checking for emails in the middle of the night!
Lack of energy is the most common health complaint amongst adults and lack of sleep may be to blame.
The Royal Society for Public Health reports that although adults need on average 7.7 hours per night, most of us sleep for 6.8 hours, which is almost one full night’s sleep lost every single week. This Cumulative Sleep Debt impairs all aspects of our performance by up to 50%, including memory, creativity, decision making, reaction time and judgment.
Typically, people are expending energy working longer but not recovering energy with adequate downtime. The truth is the secret to increased productivity is taking some time off and holidays have been proven to lead to significantly higher performance upon return to the job.
Here’s the thing; just because we can work all the time, doesn’t mean we should. This is incredibly ineffective and unproductive in the long term.
In a recent leadership conference, we asked how many people worked over their holidays and I would say 90% of leaders put their hands up. This was met by a gasp (and a few giggles) from the room, as the true scale of how ridiculous that was hit home.
Before technology and our “always available” culture, we would prepare for our holiday, for example we would ‘hand over’ to a trusted colleague any critical work and we would leave a voicemail that informs customers of who to speak to, in our absence.
How many of you still do this? From my experience, not enough of you.