Stress can lead to bad decision making, but what does it look like in the workplace?

Stress can lead to bad decision making, but what does it look like in the workplace?

When under stress our brains are wired to be more reactionary. This can mean that stressed-out leaders resort to binary choice-making, limiting the options available to them. In tough moments, we reach for premature conclusions rather than opening ourselves to more and better options. So, what does this look like in the workplace?

  • More delegation – Many leaders struggle to let go of decision rights. Leaders obsess over letting go of their own authority because an untested employees’s failure will make them look bad. They cling to their authority with exhausting levels of control. But eventually, being the bottleneck becomes too stressful, and in demanding situations leaders are forced to give employees chances to step up to new challenges.
  • Communicating tough news – One of a leader’s most stressful demands is delivering messages that disappoint people. The two extremes that leaders tend to bounce between here are being overly blunt and excessively tentative
  • Facing high-risk decisions – For routine decisions, most leaders fall into one of two camps: The “trust your gut” leader makes highly intuitive decisions, and the “analyse everything” leader wants lots of data to back up their choice. But stressful episodes can provoke them to the extremes of their natural inclination. The highly intuitive leader becomes impulsive, missing critical facts. The highly analytical leader gets paralysed in data, often failing to make any decision at all

Helping colleagues be resilient to stress isn’t just about absence levels and engagement it’s about creating a good business, with great working practices based on a foundation of great leaders making the right decision.

World Mental Health Day is in October so we are all busy planning workshops and campaigns to ensure we support all the employees of our clients, if you’re needing a bit more information on how to build resilience in your leadership team then call us on 01924 666295.