With great responsibilities comes greater stress. When you assume a position of leadership, all your decisions have far reaching consequences and impact a large number of people. The feeling of being responsible for many people and choosing between options which aren’t always black and white leads to the leaders falling into the trap of power stress. The higher you go in the hierarchy, the lonelier it gets since there are no thought partners to discuss your decisions or your next moves. Being held responsible for the events which are out of their control also adds to their stress levels.
Sacrifice syndrome follows power stress
Just when you think that power stress is the worst thing that can happen to a leader, you are faced with sacrifice syndrome, which almost immediately follows power stress. Sacrifice syndrome is the shortest way for an executive to reach a burnout. The constant stress and fatigue pile up sucks up all the positive energy from the executive and takes away his efficiency. As easy as it is to enter the sacrifice syndrome, it is very difficult to come out of it simply because most people around you tolerate it and even encourage it. You are expected to work longer hours, come on the weekends, take up tasks which you don’t need to and much more.
As an executive coach, I often come across leaders who find themselves trapped inside the sacrifice syndrome. Before giving them my two cents, I make sure they understand that all my advice would come down to nothing if they themselves don’t work towards it. My first advice is to practice mindfulness in its truest form. You need to listen to your heart, body and mind. While you can’t expect to develop this habit overnight, once you master this, it would go a long way in putting your life back in order. The other thing you need to do is to believe that something good and positive is around the corner. This is what would give you the strength to move forward. You have worked your way up to this position with your sheer hard work and persistence. You have it in you to do justice to this position. It is you who has to start the change. Don’t wait for things to happen, this is the time to be the leader you are.