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How Women Leaders Can Manage Stress

Sally Schott

April 12, 2019 > thumnail

Last month, SOAR hosted close to 100 high-potential women in a series of “Power Hour” workshops to discuss tactics for managing workplace stress and building resilience. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 70% of the women who attended reported feeling an increase in workplace stress over the last year.

“I am a working mother, raising two children (9 and 2.5 years old). I struggle daily to manage stress at home and at work. What should I do?”

– Marketing Manager and SOAR Participant


We were surprised to hear about the number of physical side effects of stress experienced by the women who participated in our workshops. Almost two-thirds of participants reported feeling nervous or anxious because of stress and more than one-third reported symptoms such as sleeplessness, headaches and overeating/shopping/ drinking.  Imagine how much productivity we could gain if our best employees had the tools to better manage stress?

The research is clearstress is caused not by other people or external events, but by our reactions to them. Rather than shifting work or teaching our employees better time management tactics, the best employers are focused on developing resilience.  Simply defined, resilience is the ability to cope with and rise to the inevitable challenges, problems, and setbacks that we all meet in our lives, and come back stronger from them. Resilience draws from rational thinking, personal and mental health, and relationships with those around us.

Psychologists who have studied resiliency says resilience is comprised of five parts. 

  1. Perspective
  2. Emotional Intelligence
  3. Purpose
  4. Connections
  5. Physical Energy

Participants in our workshops assessed their resilience using the Resilience Capability Index (CPI) in each of the five areas. 65% reported scoring the lowest in Physical Energy, followed by Emotional Intelligence, Perspective, and Purpose.

As leaders and managers, we can take a role in improving the resiliency of our employees. It starts with educating them about the importance of resiliency and how resiliency is a capability that we can all strengthen over time, like a muscle. We need to lead by example, and make sure that we are demonstrating the behaviors that build our own resiliency. Finally, we need to teach our teams how to delegate or redesign low-value tasks, so they have the time to prioritize activities that build resiliency.

What are you doing to build resiliency among your staff?