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4 Things that keep leaders up at night.

Anxiety and enthusiasm are direct traits of leaders who truly care. Let’s face it; you are either too worried or too excited to sleep at night. But excitement is easier to contain; it is the worrying part that is more difficult to control and will make your head spin all night as you keep on going over and over certain scenarios in your head when you are supposed to be resting.

Many argue that to worry won’t get you anywhere, when in fact, it is sometime necessary and can be valuable. Stress, worry and anticipation help ensure our survival. It is therefore not necessarily always a bad thing. It makes us put away money for difficult times; it helps us to get our kids to focus on their homework and study because we worry about their success, etc. Worrying helps us prepare and deal with situations. In some cases, it motivates us to perform and do better. 

But, like everything in life, if you overdo it and worry too much it increases your chances to develop stress-related diseases. In most cases, you worry extensively about things at the office you can’t change or that didn’t even happen yet. Leaders must realize that they need to manage their worrying positively.

During our Leadership Development Programmes, presented over the years, The Mindspa Institute identified four things leaders lie awake at night and ponder over. But not to worry, we will give you advice on how to manage each issue in our next article.

#1 Organizational structures and leadership styles.

Forward-thinking business leaders know that new organizational structures will make companies compatible to compete successfully in the rapidly changing business world. The sad thing is that there are still a lot of ‘top-dogs’ at the executive level that won’t let go of the old mixture of autocratic-bureaucratic leadership styles. They still think that they alone make the decisions without taking anyone else into consideration. Their belief in command and control and to follow exact procedures leaves no space to explore new problem-solving methods etc.

It becomes very frustrating for some business leaders to work with these types of organizational leaders and structures as it gives them limited workable avenues. Some leaders might even get de-motivated. So what do they do? They lie awake most of the night at their wit’s end, regretting the fact that they have to face these types of meetings and leaders.

#2 Losing Key skilled people.

Employees come and go. Competitors are always on the hunt for good, knowledgeable and skilled employees. They choose different career paths, go after salary increases or just want growth and learning opportunities. So, on the one hand, you have competitors dangling a carrot in front of YOUR key personnel and on the other hand, you have to constantly keep the employees who are real assets to your business happy.

It is common knowledge that business leaders worry about losing key staff members who have the necessary skills and know-how for the company to progress.  On the other hand, it is also very difficult to keep these employees if the business simply cannot afford an increase when money is the key motivator in that specific person’s career.

Leaders think about it constantly and try and come up with creative ideas to keep those specialists or experts. What makes business leaders even more anxious is losing them to competitors. They feel like they are both losing an ‘expert’ and someone that has ‘inside information’. Remember this hasn’t necessarily happened yet… Some leaders automatically think they can’t lose that person because he/she is irreplaceable. Business leaders also invest in enhancing the skill sets of these key individuals, and then they leave to work for the competitor.

#3 How to handle a crisis or difficult person.

Some business leaders lie awake wondering how to handle that toxic employee who believes that everyone is against him. Or how to deal with that difficult, unreasonable customer or that supplier who holds you ransom when you need their support. Not only in business but in life, there will always be crises or difficult people and the uncertainty of ‘what will happen if not dealt with in the right manner?’

Business leaders stress about the fact that people might not like them, that they might step on toes and hurt some feelings. They worry about what negative influence these toxic people might have on the team that might create a ripple effect.

#4 Facing big changes.

With change come new challenges and that’s just the way it is. Leaders worry that their organizations are not adapting fast enough to cultural diversity, technology, global growth etc. Leaders worry about organizational structure changes. They worry about setting a bad example in how they handle and communicate the change.

Change is inevitable and you can’t control everything. Again the uncertainty of it all is taunting leaders at night because they have to manage these changes and challenges with their teams. They have to remain positive and motivated, even though sometimes they themselves are unsure of the outcome.

Do you really think that it will help anyone in the future if you worry about it now? Night time is for sleep and to rest so that you are fresh in the morning to tackle any sort of curveball thrown at you. And yes, it is easier said than done. Sometimes leaders wish they had a day-night switch. It is all in the management of your stresses and worries that you will be able to sleep at night.

Make sure you read our next article where we give some tips on how to deal with these nightmares. We would also very much like to hear what your worries are as a business leader. So comment below and we might answer your question in our next series of articles.