Every time I type the word “distress,” my spellchecker underlines the word in red squiggly lines and wants to change it to “distress.” Maybe the spell checker is wiser! When unable to “de-stress”, then maybe you are in distress.
De-stressing can be tough for anyone, but leaders sometimes face situations unique to their station. There are times when many feel there is no one to speak with or at least no one who can truly understand a situation. That may be because a decision is unique to your job or personal life. It takes someone who truly understands due to their own experience or because they have witnessed someone else’s, to truly relate to all the dynamics of a decision or non-decision.
A colleague went through a particularly difficult and very public conundrum. A decision he made, resulted in a backlash from his long-time co-workers. It was a personal decision that was a matter of who he chose to sponsor as a replacement prior to her own retirement. He had no decision-making ability in the successor, but of course could voice who he felt was a suitable replacement.
I called him every time I saw it hit the news. The rumor mill was even more active. We were not and still are not close friends, but I wanted to let him know there was someone out there who understood. I knew he had good friends who also grasped the dynamic of the situation, but I was in an equivalent organization; in an equivalent position so felt I could empathize well.
It is an unknown whether I helped or not, but he answered the phone every time I called, listened, talked with and thanked me.
There are times when leaders cannot find someone to relate. There are times when leaders, bound by non-disclosure agreements or other legal restrictions are limited to discussing matters only with their attorney or other directors. How do you de-stress then?