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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

4 Emotional Challenges Leaders Will Face this Year

Welcome to the new year! As we work hard to achieve new goals and successes in this brand new year, it’s important for us to do a little emotional checklist of the things we need to pay attention to in order to be the high performance leaders we expect. In this month’s article, I am doing a rundown of four of the important emotional challenges leaders will face this year.

1. Relying on technology but keeping the human touch with people.

So much of successful business involves the human relationship connection between customers, employees, suppliers and the marketplace. At the same time, we are becoming more and more reliant on technology, which puts us in jeopardy of losing much of that human connection. Technology accelerates the speed of business. It improves the employee education process. It does many good things. While enjoying this benefit of moving faster in our business processes, leaders have to make sure they do not lose the human element, which helps forge positive, and trusting relationships, or the business will suffer or possibly fail.

If leaders have a choice today to send an email, call, text or visit an employee whose office is down the hall or on another level, the tendency is to do a “tech-touch”. The visit might take a few more minutes, but, in the end, you will be enhancing the relationship in a more positive way than by sending a tech-message.

2. Focusing on what you want.

For years, I have been teaching the principle of focus. The benefits of focusing on what you want and removing focus from what you don’t. Focus brings energy and energy keeps things living and growing. Why do you want to continue to feed energy into something you don’t want? That is the difficult question some leaders have to answer because they continually feed their problem rather than feed their solutions. You can either focus on what is not working or what is, what you don’t have or what you do, what you believe in or what you don’t.

This year, it will be important to focus on tomorrow’s issues and problems, because they will very likely be different from the ones last year. If you continue to focus on outdated policies, processes and yesterday’s issues and problems, you will miss the answers to the next set about to bowl you over. You have three options. Change it, accept it or leave it behind.

3. Managing or downsizing your stress.

I teach a lot of stress management to my clients. This year will be no different, as a matter of fact, it will more than likely increase. As the pressures of the marketplace to be the fastest, best and easiest continue to mount, so do the same pressure on the leaders of organizations. There is no work/life balance any longer, there is only balance. The lines have blurred into non-existence. Here are some alarming stats:

74% say work is a leading cause of their stress

3 out of 4 leaders are disengaged

There is a 20%+ increase in Monday morning heart attacks at work

Remember, the real culprit is not what is happening outside ourselves, but what is happening inside and how we handle that. How we handle our triggers, stressors and emotions will tell the tale on how well we enjoy your life and work.

4. Letting go of old emotional baggage from 2018 (and before).

This one really dovetails with Number 3. As my third point really deals with going forward, this point deals with the backward baggage you have been lugging around. These are old emotional problems we have carried around for days, months or years. Old hurts, resentments or anger. It can also be some old guilt, failures or fears. Why do we hold on to these things? We get comfortable with it after a time, so comfortable that many people go to their graves without being able to let go of the hurts, slights and pain.

The best reason to let this stuff go is that stress from this previous suppressed emotions take a serious toll on us mentally, physically and spiritually. Old baggage is one of the biggest stresses that can kill you if you don’t let it go. Do me a favor; write down all your old hurts, pains and fears on a piece of paper. Once you have done that, tell yourself that you are going to wad it up and throw it in the garbage, not just for now, but forever. When you throw it in the garbage, you are also going to release it from yourself as well. Let it go! Do this as soon as possible.

For more professional development resources, sign up for the Monday Morning Coaching Memo.

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