As a leadership developer and researcher, I talk with leaders all the time where communication is their biggest stressor. Ever felt that there were times you just couldn’t get your message across to your team? I see this every day and we’ve all been there. Communication is a core leadership skill. And, yes, communication can cause the biggest hidden stressor. As I tell the leaders I work with every day, you must figure this problem out or it’s going to cause you more problems – inside and outside of your professional life.
Here’s what you can do – take a quick look at communication in other areas of your life! As my mentor recently reminded me, how you do one thing is how you do everything. If you find communication stressful in your home, it’s no surprise that communication is stressful at work. Feel like someone’s stealing your ideas at work? Maybe you coincidentally have a concern about someone in your family trying to tell you how to live your life. Both stressors are issues of communication, usually overlapped with lurking fear and scarcity. Although not the same type of stress, they surely do rhyme.
A recent client, an incredibly successful social entrepreneur businesswoman, was explaining how she was working on her short-term professional goal and felt that she was constantly distracted. Basically, she felt she didn’t have enough time to work on her goal and so not sticking to her scheduled goal time planned for her goal. Instead of spending the time on her goal, she said she spent a lot of time in debates with her family in-person, over text, on the phone, you name it. Seemingly innocent and unrelated, right? However and unsuspectingly she didn’t see how the time she spent in random debates was draining her mental energy and impacting professional creativity. This issue wasn’t just a one-time occurrence, but something that had become ongoing.
The sad part about this story is that, many leaders I work with every day, don’t even realize that this is an issue! Then they wonder why they are not getting the professional results they desire. Look inside. What mental processes do you need to clean up to move you toward your desires quickly? You may now wonder, “But, Dr. Jamay, what can I do to stop this problem?”
Stop energy leaks. Think about how non-productive debates, or other issues, inside and outside of your professional life are impacting your professional goals. Fortunately, the businesswoman in the story above stopped the energy leak and felt more creative attaining her goals. She felt energized and instantly more productive!
Break free of the occupational stress cycle. Stop burn-out cycles – you know the feeling – when you feel burn-out at home and at work. Not the same, because burn-out at work feels different at home. But, as the WHO reminds us of the “occupational phenomenon,” occupational burnout is probably creating similar results for you at home. Yes, taking time “off” between work and home can help – like going to the gym or for a walk – but it doesn’t help. Are you a little snippy at home? Emotionally tired and don’t want to go out with your partner for date night? Or, if you can muster the energy to go out on date night, you seem a bit rude. Change the relationship we have with your professional world so that you can be your best self elsewhere. Sometimes workplaces can be toxic, but the change starts with you.
Know that your professional life is a relationship you have with society. Like any relationship, your relationship with your professional work is a reflection of the relationship you have with yourself!