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Distinguishing Between Good and Bad Stress is Key for Leaders
Date:9/18/2008

Proper Stress Management Can Make Leaders More Effective Over Their Careers

GREENSBORO, N.C., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stress is unavoidable. What's critical is knowing when one is moving from good stress to bad stress -- and leaders often are not aware of the difference, according to research from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL(R)), a top-ranked, global leadership education and research organization.

When one's resources meet or exceed the demands put on a person, stress can show its positive side. That good kind of stress -- eustress -- acts as a stimulating factor that contributes to success. Eustress is the energy people feel when tackling a challenging assignment and feeling confident in their abilities. However, when demands exceed resources, people experience the type of stress associated with health problems and deteriorating relationships: distress.

"The key is to know which stress is which, how to judge reactions to various stressful situations and how best to manage the negative stress," says CCL senior enterprise associate Vidula Bal. "This is especially important for leaders, who face the additional stress brought about by the unique demands of leadership: having to make decisions with limited information, to manage conflict, and to do more with less."

Bal, senior research analyst Michael Campbell and senior associate and exercise physiologist Sharon McDowell-Larsen, all based at CCL's Colorado Springs campus, are the authors of a new Ideas Into Action Guidebook titled, Managing Leadership Stress. The 32-page guidebook offers a series of practical tips on the causes of leadership stress and how best to handle it.

The authors identified 10 factors inherent to leadership roles that contribute to increased stress among leaders, including ambiguity; lack of control; working beyond technical expertise; too much success; doing more with less, faster; building relationships and managing conflict; de
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SOURCE Center for Creative Leadership
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