Business leadership involves a great deal of stress, hardship, and sacrifice. To distinguish themselves, entrepreneurs and executives need to juggle several balls at once and take chances while also mitigating risk. Often, leaders begin to neglect their own mental health while building their business, which can take a major toll on their work. Most importantly, unattended stress can lead to erratic behavior that worries employees, colleagues, and customers. In the business world, consistency is key for building trust and creating a strong organization.
Maintaining consistency may not be something that leaders think about much, but it is important to develop habits that promote stability within the organization. Some key tips to keep in mind include:
Avoid focusing too much on the competition.
Savvy business leaders understand the critical importance of conducting a competitive analysis. Organizations need to see exactly what their competition is up to if they want to be successful. However, it is possible to become obsessed with the competition and begin neglecting one’s own responsibilities. Great leaders know how to back away from unhelpful, unhealthy comparisons, and instead focus on the development of their own products and services. In some industries that move particularly fast, leaders will need to keep their ear to the ground, but they cannot become distracted from what’s important at their own company. A leader could spend all their time monitoring the competition and altering their own plan of attack accordingly, but that would only confuse employees as they struggle to keep up with the changes.
Learn how to minimize electronic distractions.
Because business leaders often have such intense schedules, they can become used to constant stimulation. Then, when they have some downtime, they begin checking their email, phone messages, and social media accounts. However, downtime is usually better spent focusing on a particular task that will move the company further toward its goals. Consistency comes from mindfulness rather than distraction. Some leaders may mistake distraction for energy or a strong work ethic—they feel like they’re getting a lot done when they’re jumping from task to task or putting out fires left and right. But with every task, it pays to spend a few seconds getting centered and remembering why it’s important to complete. In addition, leaders who stay in the moment and can give their full attention to the situation at hand come across as calm and self-possessed. These individuals inspire the people around them to act with intention, too, which can ultimately drive productivity.
Learn how to stay in control of emotions.
Everyone has bad days—no exception. Business leaders should never suppress their feelings indefinitely, as this will ultimately lead to additional stress and emotional outbursts down the road. However, leaders have a duty keep their composure and steer the course, even if they feel overwhelmed, stressed, mad, or anxious. When leaders are in a particularly bad mood, they need to figure out how they can regain control of their emotions so that it does not negatively affect the people around them. A key part of excellent leadership is developing resiliency, which means finding out what coping strategies are most effective in different situations. The answer will be different for everyone. Some individuals may want to confide in a friend or turn to a trusted mentor, while others may want to take some time to meditate. Other people may prefer taking five minutes to go for a walk. The key is figuring out what works and recognizing when it is needed.
Remember why you got into the business.
When it comes to everyday leadership, it can become very easy to lose sight of the big picture. However, leaders need to tap into their own passion in order to inspire their employees. Leaders may want to think about instituting a daily ritual to remind themselves why they started on the path that they did and to enable them to head into the office energized and motivated. When leaders seem disconnected or distracted, they can hurt morale at the organization, and employees may question their commitment. Enthusiastic, focused leaders reinforce that they will always be there for support and guidance. Even more importantly, their passion is often contagious and employees will feel more motivated in their own work.
Seek out advice and feedback from trusted peers.
Everyone encounters situations where they’re not sure what to do or how to proceed. When this happens, the best thing that a leader can do is seek out advice from someone with expertise in the issue at hand. Doing so enables leaders to learn more about what they can do if they encounter a similar situation in the future. Leaders who flounder will send the wrong message to their employees. Beyond this, trusted peers have another role to play. Leaders are often poor judges of their own accomplishments and impact. Even individuals who are good at self-reflection and assessment can still benefit from constructive feedback. Asking for criticism does not signal weakness, but instead helps leaders learn what they are doing well and how they could improve. The insight gained from these conversations will help leaders develop positive habits, so that they can act with more consistency moving forward.