Creative Leadership

Leaders: Your Stress Level Is Hurting Your Team

More and more evidence is coming in that leadership style and behavior trickle down. I once had a client who’s leadership style was to lead by threat. Instead of inspiring and motivating his team, his constant mantra was, “If you can’t do it, I’ll find someone who can.”  Before long, his subordinates followed his lead and began their own reign of terror with co-workers and vendors.

For leaders, the bottom line is the team follows your lead, so you should be very careful about the “vibes” you’re sending out. Now, The Wall Street Journal says that it’s the same way with stress. If your leadership style is to rush around, barking orders, run late for meetings, and be overly intense, those stress signals will impact the people around you.

Reporting for The Wall Street Journal, Sue Shellenbarger writes, “Executive coach Joel Garfinkle says racing around became a habit for one financial executive he worked with. In the process, he treated other people as a hindrance, pressuring and snapping at them, says Mr. Garfinkle, of Oakland, Calif. Subordinates saw him as arrogant and insensitive, hurting performance and morale. Mr. Garfinkle’s advice to the executive: “You need to leave a smaller wake.” A calm, unruffled work style is still a mark of competency, management experts say. “Executives who have figured it out… are poised and strategic. That’s a big difference from reacting all day” to others’ demands, says Susan Hodgkinson, a principal with the Personal Brand Co., a Boston-based leadership-development and executive-coaching firm.”

Leaders who rush around all day impact their employees in 5 important ways:

1. Anxiety – They worry if they should be rushing around as well.
2. Inferiority – They begin to think they’re not important as you.
3. Avoidance – They worry they shouldn’t interrupt you, so they distance themselves.
4. Desperation – They have to chase you into meetings or the parking lot just to talk.
5. Resentment – They begin to think you’re arrogant and trying to show them up.

So what you think is communicating urgency, commitment, and strength, may actually be driving your team away.

Thought for the day – Leadership style trickles down to your team. Stop today and think about your daily style and behavior and what that’s communicating to your co-workers and employees.

Any behavior you need to change?

Related Articles


  1. Good advice. Busyness doesn’t equal effectiveness, and often is just a mask for a lack thereof. Leaders who go lone-ranger-style and don’t raise up a team to collectively accomplish the mission, will eventually either sink the ship or get thrown overboard.

  2. McDonalds call this ‘The Shadow of a Leader”. Being that whatever you are, all your good traits and all your bad traits will filter down and be copied by your employees. Scary huh?

Leave a Reply

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker